Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power And Fragility Of Networked Protest by Zeynep TufekciTwitter And Tear Gas: The Power And Fragility Of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power And Fragility Of Networked Protest

byZeynep Tufekci

Hardcover | May 16, 2017

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A firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenges

To understand a thwarted Turkish coup, an anti–Wall Street encampment, and a packed Tahrir Square, we must first comprehend the power and the weaknesses of using new technologies to mobilize large numbers of people. An incisive observer, writer, and participant in today’s social movements, Zeynep Tufekci explains in this accessible and compelling book the nuanced trajectories of modern protests—how they form, how they operate differently from past protests, and why they have difficulty persisting in their long-term quests for change.
Tufekci speaks from direct experience, combining on-the-ground interviews with insightful analysis. She describes how the internet helped the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, the necessity of remote Twitter users to organize medical supplies during Arab Spring, the refusal to use bullhorns in the Occupy Movement that started in New York, and the empowering effect of tear gas in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. These details from life inside social movements complete a moving investigation of authority, technology, and culture—and offer essential insights into the future of governance.
Zeynep Tufekci is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science, and a faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.
Title:Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power And Fragility Of Networked ProtestFormat:HardcoverDimensions:360 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1 inPublished:May 16, 2017Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300215126

ISBN - 13:9780300215120


From the Author

How are today’s social movements unlike those of the past?   The Civil Rights Movement had been active for more than a decade and still needed half a year of planning to organize the 1963 March on Washington. In contrast, the Occupy Movement organized global protests in two weeks in more than 80 cities, mostly using Facebook and Twitter. In the past, the protest was the culmination of prior organizing. Today, the huge protest may be the very first step in the movement’s existence. Tech tools are more than a way to communicate; they are essential to organization, for good and bad.   What is the biggest misconception about today’s protests?   People believe that “clicktivism” or “slacktivism”—when people “like” a social media post or change their Facebook profile picture—is always easy, and that it displaces other types of protests “in real life.” Clicking isn’t always easy. A Chinese dissident tweeting is taking a bigger risk than a Westerner marching in the streets. Instead of artificially dividing the world into real and unreal, we should understand the kind of capacity that different protests signal. Besides, most of the time, online communication and physical acts complement each other.   What are your most important tools during a protest? For me, it's my smartphone and helmet. The phone provides awareness and lets me share notes and pictures. The helmet protects my head from rocks and tear gas canisters that may be shot at the crowd. But the real resource is the people, of course.   Explain the importance of tear gas. I first wanted to call the book "Beautiful Tear Gas." The first time you're teargassed, you think you will die. You can't breathe; it's horrible. But tear gas doesn't kill you, and everyone around you comes to your aid, washing your face and helping you to stand up. You do stand up—even more united with your fellow protesters.   What unites crowds to stand for a common cause? Police brutality, media censorship, and dismissal by powerful people. When this happens to you, you realize that others you may have dismissed may be worth listening to. Then you find yourself next to these people, facing tear gas together. This brings down barriers.

Editorial Reviews

“Tufekci believes that digital-age protests are not simply faster, more responsive versions of their mid-century parents. They are fundamentally distinct.”—Nathan Heller, New Yorker"This comprehensive, thought-provoking work makes a valuable contribution to understanding recent political developments and provides a clear path by which grassroots organizers can improve future efforts."—Publishers Weekly"Twitter and Tear Gas is packed with evidence on how social media has changed social movements, based on rigorous research and placed in historical context."—Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times"Insightful and entertaining. . . . Twitter and Tear Gas is infused with a richness of detail stemming from [Tufekci's] personal participation in the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. . . . Tufekci writes with a warmth and respect for the humans that are part of these powerful social movements, gently intertwining her own story with the stories of others, big data, and theory."—Bruce Schneier, Motherboard"A striking and original conclusion: today’s low barrier for organizing a movement can also lead to its long-term frustrations. Tufekci’s superb book will define the debate on social protest for years to come."—Dani Rodrik, author of Economic Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science"Tufekci is undoubtedly the most qualified person in the world to explain the meaning of political collective actions catalyzed and coordinated by social media. She knows the technology, the social science, and the politics—and she is the rare academic observer who was at the scene, from Istanbul to Cairo to New York."—Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution"Incisive and illuminating, Tufekci’s book arrives at the perfect moment, right when we desperately need our activism to become smarter and more effective than ever before, or else."— Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age and co-founder of the Debt Collective"Many have asked why people rebel, but few describe how. Here, Tufekci uses firsthand observation to offer an intelligent and informed examination of the tools and nature of today’s political protests."—Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation and The Shia Revival"For all the claims that new technologies afford grassroots movements new power, research on the topic is rare. Tufekci's book provides just that—and a cautionary conclusion."—Doug McAdam, author of Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Postwar America