Mapping Movements

Over the next few weeks I’ll be in San Francisco working on the ‘Mapping Movements’ project that Tim Highfield and I are putting together. This project explores the role of the politics of place in shaping how social movements are composed and sustained, and movement participants’ links with other movements, with specific reference to two San Francisco-based movements. The first, the digital liberties movement, is necessarily international and decentralised because of the nature of Internet infrastructure and governance and the transnational scope of ICT development and dissemination. The second, the Occupy movement, is defined by its relationship to specific spaces, including the occupied public spaces and occupations of foreclosed homes. At the same time, however, it is connected to Occupy movements throughout the world.

A map showing Twitter connections related to Occupy Oakland
Preliminary hashtag map for #oo by Tim Highfield

In developing this research, we’ve aimed to create a project that will be relevant to activists as well as being interesting from an academic point of view, and that will contribute to activist attempts to create effective and inclusive networks. All of our research will be published in open access journals, as well as being shared in more informal spaces (like this blog). The project will draw on Tim Highfield’s maps of Twitter and other online networks, which will be complemented by in-depth qualitative interviews.

If you’re interested in participating in the project or would like to find out more, please feel free to contact me through the comments or on Twitter.

This study has been approved by the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee: the approval number is MCCA-17-11. If needed, verification of approval can be obtained either by writing to the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee, C/- Office of Research and Development, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, 6845, or by telephoning (+618) 9266 2784 or

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