Edited By Eduardo Cintra Torres and Samuel Mateus
The 19th and 20th century provided stages for the political affirmation of social groups and the concomitant emergence of social movements as collective endeavours to promote political and social change in any direction and by any means, either peaceful or violent, reformist or revolutionary, consensual or rebellious. This period saw the rise of the social movement in the sense of a set of people who deliberately committed themselves to a shared identity, a unifying belief, a common programme and a collective struggle to carry out social action.
In the 21st century, we are witnessing the transformation of the traditional forms of social action. Indeed, the repertoire of collective action (Tilly, 1978) has changed, as organization and public recognition are radically different when networked media allow for new orders of functioning. The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010 are an illustrative case. The Arab Spring had, in new communication tools such as the Internet and social networks, a key factor in social mobilization and socio-political demands (Khondker, 2011). The same occurred with, for instance, social protests in the United States (Gitlin, 2012), Portugal, Greece and Spain: all related to the global financial and economic crisis. These events showed the impact of the new communication tools in the co-relation of individuals touched by the causes, but also called into question the role of the journalistic media, now called “old media” or “traditional media” by...
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