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“All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”: Activist Practices in an Era of Mediatized Surveillance
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Centre for HumanIT. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (HumanIT)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8225-3447
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the defining features of contemporary zeitgeist is that we live in an era of mediatization – a metaprocess, through (and by) which all everyday relations increasingly depend on networked media technologies and online communication channels.

Due to rapid developments in digital electronics, all these Internet- or mobile-enabled platforms, and devices, are prone to the processes of quantification and datafication, and as such, surveillance is a principal dimension that lies at the core of mediatization.

Through five peer-reviewed academic articles and the cover text, this dissertation provides a multi-faceted analysis of the complex relationships – built by Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s state intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies with a number of local, and global, private information, entertainment and telecommunications companies. The articles are focused on different cases: the complete dispersion of commercial social media based oppositional activists in Azerbaijan, and the arrests of Anonymous led hacktivists in Turkey, both happening in 2011; and, the mass mobilization of millions of Turkish citizens during the Gezi Park protests of 2013. The current compilation puts forth in-depth accounts and scrutiny of how various social movements (in general), and individual activists (in particular), are affected by an amalgamation of public, political; and, private, economic, surveillance practices and seeks to illuminate the abusive extents of this transformation – vis-à-vis the changing media and communication environment – by way of using mediatization as an analytical tool.

Overall, this dissertation contributes a nuanced understanding of the complex interplay between the increasingly mediatized natures of activism and surveillance in semi-authoritarian states. The conclusions have relevance and significance – in considering both similar country contexts and on a global scale – in the light of contemporary technological and political transformations.

Abstract [en]

One of the defining features of contemporary zeitgeist is that we live in an era of mediatization – a metaprocess, through (and by) which all everyday relations increasingly depend on networked media technologies and online communication channels – and surveillance is a principal dimension that lies at its core.

Through five peer-reviewed academic articles and the cover text, this dissertation provides a multi-faceted analysis of the complex relationships built by Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s state intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies with a number of local, and global, private information, entertainment and telecommunications companies. The current compilation puts forth in-depth accounts and scrutiny of how various social movements and individual activists are affected by an amalgamation of public, political; and, private, economic, surveillance practices and seeks to illuminate the abusive extents of this transformation by way of using mediatization as an analytical tool.

Overall, this dissertation contributes a nuanced understanding of the complex interplay between the increasingly mediatized natures of activism and surveillance in semi-authoritarian states.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. , p. 88
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:8
Keyword [en]
Azerbaijan, mediatized activism, mediatized surveillance, surveillative apparatuses, rhizomated subactivism, Turkey
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-47924ISBN: 978-91-7063-754-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-755-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-47924DiVA, id: diva2:1073736
Public defence
2017-03-31, 12A 138 Geijersalen, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-03-13 Created: 2017-02-13 Last updated: 2017-08-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring Terra Incognita: Mapping Surveillance Studies from the Perspective of Media and Communication Research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Terra Incognita: Mapping Surveillance Studies from the Perspective of Media and Communication Research
2015 (English)In: Surveillance & Society, ISSN 1477-7487, E-ISSN 1477-7487, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 117-126Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article attempts to map Surveillance Studies from the perspective of the academic field of media and communication studies,and to seek out boundaries, limitations, strengths and weaknesses of current research. To map out the territory and mark importantpoints within the landscape, Surveillance & Society, a premier interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal in the field ofsurveillance, is used as a point of departure. Analysis of topics within the Surveillance Studies field is conducted based on 296articles from 40 issues published between 2002 and 2013.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Surveillance Studies Network, 2015
Keyword
Surveillance & Society; Surveillance Studies; Media and Communication Studies; Mapping research field; Scientific Fields
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35251 (URN)000361456500009 ()
Available from: 2015-02-19 Created: 2015-02-19 Last updated: 2017-09-13
2. Gendered Surveillance and Media Usage in Post-Soviet Space: The Case of Azerbaijan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gendered Surveillance and Media Usage in Post-Soviet Space: The Case of Azerbaijan
2015 (English)In: Baltic Worlds, ISSN 2000-2955, Vol. 8, no 1-2, p. 44-48Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article is an attempt to explore the limits of gendered surveillance in Azerbaijan – that is, how and to what extent female activists and women journalists are monitored and affected by the surveillative apparatuses of the state, both online and offline. The article also very briefly examines the gender dimension of Azerbaijani political activism and protest practices. The questions of how gender stereotypes, together with the more general problem of the digital gender gap, are being used by the state authorities to control the public opinion are also addressed.

Keyword
Gendered surveillance, surveillative apparatuses, Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijan
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35988 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-08 Created: 2015-05-08 Last updated: 2017-12-04
3. When States Strike Back: Failures of Mediatized Activism in Azerbaijan and Turkey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When States Strike Back: Failures of Mediatized Activism in Azerbaijan and Turkey
2016 (English)In: tripleC (cognition, communication, co-operation): Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society / Unified Theory of Information Research Group, ISSN 1726-670X, E-ISSN 1726-670X, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 496-515Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article is an empirically grounded conceptual investigation of the failures of mediatized activism in 2011 in Azerbaijan and Turkey. By analyzing two specific cases, namely the complete dispersion of corporate social media based opposition in Azerbaijan, and arrests of Anonymous led hacktivistsin Turkey, the article aims to contribute to the discussion on the future of mediatized activism in the face of the growing pervasive surveillance, conducted by state intelligence agencies in collaboration with private infotainment and telecommunications companies. By elaborating on the shortcomings and the promises of social media based activism and hacktivism, the article discusses the possibility of building alternative online spaces, which can bring these two types of mediatized activism together, and help to connect activists with the rest of the society—especially the otherwise consenting middle classes of semi-authoritarian countries.

Keyword
Azerbaijan, Hacktivism, Social Media Activism, Surveillance, Turkey
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-47449 (URN)000392621200010 ()
Available from: 2016-12-05 Created: 2016-12-05 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
4. Azerbaijani Women, Online Mediatized Activism and Offline Mass Mobilization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Azerbaijani Women, Online Mediatized Activism and Offline Mass Mobilization
2016 (English)In: Social Sciences, ISSN 2076-0760, E-ISSN 2076-0760, Vol. 5, no 4, p. 1-17, article id 60Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite its post-Soviet history, Azerbaijan is an under-investigated country in academic research—compared with the other former constituencies, such as the Baltic countries or Russia, of the USSR—and gender questions of the contemporary Azerbaijani society are even less touched on. Within the current context of the post-“Arab Spring” era of mediatized connectivity and collective political engagement, this article looks into and analyzes how Azerbaijani women participate in different online and offline social and political movements, and if (and how) they are impeded by the increased state authoritarianism in Azerbaijan. Using data, obtained from online information resources, yearly reports of human rights organizations, focus group discussions, and interviews, the study detects four major activist constellations within the Azerbaijani field of gendered politics. Based on the analysis of conditions of detected groups, the article claims that flash mobs, a tactic employed mainly by liberal activists, emerge as the promising way in overcoming the normative nature of Azerbaijani patriarchal society, thus providing an opportunity for normalization and internalization of the feeling of being on the street and acting in concert with others—the practices which might lead towards an increasing participation of (especially young) women in the political processes of the country.

Keyword
Azerbaijan; oppressive politics; political opposition; surveillance; women activists
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-46451 (URN)10.3390/socsci5040060 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-10-12 Last updated: 2017-10-05Bibliographically approved
5. Manuscript (Un)lonely impulse of delight
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manuscript (Un)lonely impulse of delight
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48142 (URN)
Available from: 2017-03-13 Created: 2017-03-13 Last updated: 2017-10-09Bibliographically approved

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