Monday, August 14, 2017

Lim on activism, laughter, and hate in social media

Merlyna Lim, Canada Research Chair in Digital Media and Global Network Society, delivered a plenary talk at the annual conference of the International Association of Media and Communication Research in Cartagena, 16-20 July 2017.

Lim participated in the plenary session titled “Communication Emerging From the Changing World Full of Uncertainties – Social Movements”, which discussed issues related to activism of social movements based on digital communication, such as fractures, disruptions, new territorialities, fears and uncertainties. In the session that was sponsored by AFACOM (Asociación Colombiana de Facultades y Programas Universitarios en Comunicación e Información) and chaired by Professor Clemencia Rodriquez (Temple University), Lim explored the commonalities and complexities of the global wave of protests and their entanglement with digital media and communication. In this plenary conversation, Lim’s insights were critically responded by social movement scholars Emiliano Treré and Maria Paula Martínez Concha.

Prior to the Cartagena event, in June 2017, Lim participated as a discussant in the screening of “Tickling Giants”, a new documentary directed by former Daily Show senior producer Sara Takslet, at the ByTowne Cinema, Ottawa. Following the story of the Egyptian comedian and political satirist Bassem Youssef, the documentary chronicles the power of humour and laughter in the face of oppression and threats to the freedom of expression.

In June 2017, Merlyna Lim also published a new article titled “Freedom to Hate: Social media, Algorithmic Enclaves, and the Rise of Tribal Nationalism in Indonesia” (Critical Asian Studies journal). Unraveling the complex relationship between social media and electoral politics, in this article Lim suggests that the mutual shaping between users and algorithms results in the formation of “algorithmic enclaves” that, in turn, produce multiple forms of tribal nationalism. Within these multiple online enclaves, social media users claim and legitimize their own versions of nationalism by excluding equality and justice for others.

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