The right tools for the job – research proposals to study different forms of activism

  1. Environmental Activism – the effectiveness of “camping” actions like at the Dakota Access Pipeline to force federal or corporate action
  2. The privatization of activism – public philanthropic and activist figures such as Bill Gates have become more prominent in recent years. Is this a fundamental shift in the power of activism? Is activism from a place of privilege truly activism?
  3. Militant, organized, violent activism – detailing a demarcation between terrorism, organized and violent unrest, and other forms of violent protest
  4. Slacktivism – examine how social media affects voter turnout, public opinion, actual change. Facebook’s “fake news” scandal may have had a profound impact in the recent election. How and to what extend does the influence of our onine networks color political will in the millenial generation?
  5. Activism in countries with differing governmental/economic systems

Of these topics, I would be interested in the last one – I’d be curious to see what forms activism might take in countries with significantly different cultures. Which strategies are most effective in societies without protection for the right to free speech? Given a non-capitalist economy and a corresponding lack of corporate branding, how do activists still speak out or culture jam? In an increasingly global society, how do activist efforts and media coverage in one country attract action from other countries?

This topic could be important for a few different reasons. Firstly, researching the trends of activism in other cultures gives us valuable insight into the dynamics of power outside of the traditional Western canon. Practically speaking, this research could translate into valuable information for activist efforts in our own culture. Looking at the history of activism in other countries could give us insight into what works and what doesn’t. Additionally, an appreciation for other cultures is important; the rising amount of refugees integrating into different countries and interacting with different cultures attests to this point. Such an appreciation could help formulate a strategy for energizing political will and increasing public engagement with social issues involving other cultures.


One thought on “The right tools for the job – research proposals to study different forms of activism”

  1. I really like your topic on activism in various countries and economic systems. A look into how forms of social media differ in countries could highlight how government control their population and the information they are allowed to see – such as with the use of WeChat in China. Furthermore, without Facebook this type of censorship could affect the way in which one is an activist.


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