Independence 2.0: Internet Activism, Communication Power and the Catalan Civil Independence Movement

Professor Kathryn Crameri, Stevenson Chair of Hispanic Studies, University of Glasgow

A keynote lecture in the AILASA 2014 - Voicing Dissent International Conference hosted by the Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia

3 July, 2014

Civil pro-independence groups in Catalonia have become increasingly sophisticated in their use of Web 2.0 technologies. Not only are these vital in the organisation of demonstrations and other activities – and to ensure publicity before and after the event – they also create far-reaching networks of influence that intersect with the Catalan traditional media.

Professor Crameri explores the importance of internet activism and social media for the civil sectors of the Catalan independence movement. Examples of activities whose impact depends on digital communication include lipdubs and flashmobs as well as more traditional forms of protest. The discussion draws both on recent theory on the role of new media in facilitating the work of social movement organisations, and Manuel Castells’ concept of ‘communication power’. The multidimensionality of these power networks and ‘the rise of the interactive production of meaning’ give civil associations an immense potential for influence, but also require us to question prevailing generalisations about the relationship between ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ pressure for independence in the Catalan context.

Professor Kathyrn Crameri

Professor Kathryn Crameri completed her PhD at Clare College, Cambridge, before taking up a lectureship at Lancaster University. She then moved to the University of Sydney, where she was the Chair of the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies and later an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She is now Stevenson Chair of Hispanic Studies and Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow. Her publications include Language, The Novelist and National Identity in Post-Franco Catalonia (2000), Catalonia: National Identity and Cultural Policy 1980-2003 (2008), and ‘Goodbye, Spain?’ The Question of Independence for Catalonia (2014).