Global social justice politics

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Joshua Garland

Katrina Leclerc: First of all, I think this is a very clear and well-constructed presentation of an interesting paper. I wonder how far any current challenges to, for instance, more stringent gun policies would be replicated in any attempts to introduce YPS legislation in a country such as the US (especially if gun control would be one of the key ideas behind its adoption). Certainly, from the outside (and from a non-specialist viewpoint) at least, it appears as though pro-gun politics, lobbying, and interests are quite significant within the US context. If not blocking the introduction of YPS legislation outright,… Read more »

Joshua Garland

Boluwatife Ajibola: First, and as I commented for our other colleague in this panel, I believe this is a very good, clear, and fascinating presentation. The emphasis on government actors as the response side in online/offline communication and protest-related violence seems valid and interesting. Interesting also are the contemporary and comparative cases proposed by the paper in order to help understand dynamics regarding the occurrence of violence around protest. This is especially so given the relative success or unsuccess of the campaigns and the different presence of violence witnessed between the cases. I think that through these cases the research… Read more »

Boluwatife Ajibola

Hi Joshua, thank you so much for your really great and insightful comments. The materials are also great. I agree with you that this is an area of research that has been highly contested, also given the many socio-cultural dynamics that has been embed in its broad discourse and conceptualisation. You make a good point about the possibilities of alternative explanations to protest mobilisation and outcomes, moreover, in addition to your points there, my research acknowledges the need to situate other technologies beyond the social media on the pathways to how discursive opportunities are appropriated by actors during social movements.… Read more »

Leah Rea

Hi Joshua, thanks so much for your presentation. This is a fascinating subject, and highly topical given the international and national debates around climate change. I thought the findings were very interesting, particularly in relation to the limited number of images of the polar bear – I wonder if this relates to the issue of apathy you alluded to, in that for decades this has been a feature in climate change discourse and no longer “shocks”? I also thought the findings as regards the prominence of the aesthetically beautiful images were striking. It suggests the invoking of a utopia untouched… Read more »

Joshua Garland

Hi Leah, thank you very much for your comments. Indeed, the relative absence of the polar bear was quite surprising, especially given the lengthy consideration such an image has received within literature concerned with the visual communication of climate change. Yes, I think that it could relate to the length of time polar bear images have been used, and that this has eroded some of its narrative/evocative power. That said, the ‘Apollo’s Eye’ image refers to a classic photo taken by NASA in 1972 (entitled ‘The Blue Marble’), so maybe time and audience familiarity is not the whole story. With… Read more »

Heather Alberro

A picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. Thank you for your timely and fascinating research on the important role of iconic imagery in spurring environmental mobilisations/concern. I especially remember being deeply moved- and horrified- at the viral image of an orangutan physically standing between a bulldozer and a deforested area he/she once called home. I’m interested in this issue you raise around image effectiveness, and the circumstances when a particular image might generate the opposite of its intended effect (i.e. political apathy). I was wondering if you could say more about this based on your research findings so… Read more »

Joshua Garland

Hi Heather, thank you for your comments and questions. Firstly, with regards to apathy and animals in imagery, the polar bear as the famous example has perhaps become tired through its frequent and long-standing usage; a usage which helped make this animal an icon of climate change and, more specifically, of global warming. As another contributor to this discussion, Leah Rea, mentioned, this frequency may well have eroded the ‘shock’, concern, and emotional salience that the polar bear once held for image viewers. As I suggested in my reply to Leah, the age of this icon may not be the… Read more »

Leah Rea

Katrina, thanks so much for such an interesting and creative presentation on an important topic. I really welcome your argument on different interpretations of peace and security, and moving beyond the traditional – and outdated, I feel – concepts of peace and security. I would be interested to know your thoughts on state responses to social justice activism on peace and security issues, which deem such social justice activism as a security issue. For example, in the UK House of Commons this week, the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passed Third Reading. The Bill was introduced following public… Read more »

Leah Rea

Hi Boluwatife, thanks so much for your presentation, I found it a really interesting discussion particularly with the case studies of Nigeria and Liberia.

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the purposeful blocking of social media / cutting internet access by state governments during times of social action and social justice movement and the impacts arising from this? Is it a form of coercive communication in that the government asserts its control by restricting access to technology / internet? Thank you!

Heather Alberro

Hello, Katrina! I greatly enjoyed this engaging presentation on yet another timely development. I find your reference to a shift in social justice mobilisations from redistribution towards recognition quite interesting and worth further reflection in relation to contemporary movements. I would see those two as fundamentally linked – without redistribution and rectification of extreme contemporary socioeconomic inequality, which disproportionately affects women, racial/ethnic minorities, etc., there can arguably be no justice. Extreme inequality is also often positively correlated with rates of violent crime, political polarisation, and a whole host of other social and political ills (here, again, the US is a… Read more »

Heather Alberro

Boluwatife, thank you for your excellent presentation on a topic of longstanding and contemporary importance. The role of violence in social movements has long been a contentious one- as are debates around what exactly constitutes violence, as well as the relation between the means and ends of these mobilisations. For instance, my own research focused on radical environmental activists who sometimes engage in property destruction in order to physically halt tides of ecological destruction, yet the were strictly opposed to violence against living beings. Meanwhile state and police forces often perpetrate horrendous violence against activists. And then there’s the slow… Read more »

Boluwatife Ajibola

Hello Heather, You raise really interesting points there on the ambiguity of ‘violence’ in both theoretical and pragmatic terms. The abstruse nature of violence has also created some theoretical bias and seeming confusion in some recent peace and conflict conversations. For me, these realities perhaps further indicate the need for the convergence of interests and prejudices in what should be conceived as violence in both social and ecological terms and who exactly should be classed as the victim of a particular form of violence. Expressions of ‘passive’ violence by some who are themselves opposed to some ‘defined’ forms of violence,… Read more »

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