Communications and Media in Contemporary Social Movements
Digital media have increasingly played a part in protests and collective actions in southeast Asia in recent years—from the Bersih (“clean”) electoral movements in Malaysia to protests against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. In fact, the region has been among the places with the most vibrant digital activism. But studies on the political implications of digital media have predominantly centred on North America, Europe and, more recently, the Middle East and North Africa.
As Canada Research Chair in Digital Media and Global Network, Dr. Merlyna Lim is exploring the complexity of communications and media—including digital media—in the making and development of contemporary collective actions and movements, both progressive and regressive. With a focus on countries in southeast Asia, Lim and her research team are investigating the complex entanglement of communication and media in the imaginaries, practices and trajectories of contemporary activism.
Using both small and big data approaches, Lim and her team are exploring how global connectivity, flows of information and “datafied” and algorithmic environments shape and challenge our traditional notions of collective action and social movements.
Ultimately, Lim’s findings will contribute to social movement and communication studies and will fill the gap in the literature of the politics and culture of the Internet and social media in the non-Western context, especially in southeast Asia.