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Collective intelligence framework in networked social movements

A set of concepts, hypotheses and methods to help with understanding collective action and intelligence in emergent network social movements.

This report offers a framework with a set of concepts, hypotheses and methods that help with understanding collective action and intelligence in emergent network social movements.

In connection to the rise of network-movements and as a reflection of the exhaustion of the traditional forms representative democracy, there have been a number of experiments and prototypes of new forms of democracy.

D-CENT has produced theoretical analysis, data-analysis and data-visualisation of the appropriation by the network movements of a broad array of digital platforms and technologies used for political action, which generated huge processes of collective, citizen self-organisation.

Key findings

  • Internet and mobile communications technologies have played a crucial role in the development of “network movements” (the last generation social movements taken place since 2011), allowing them to tie online and offline participation, keep a decentralised structure and stay open with flexible boundaries.
  • These movements articulate a construction of networks and collective identities through “technopolitics”: a tactical, strategic deployment of ICTs for the organisation that facilitate mass-self communication and unfolding of collective action. Technopolitical action moves across social networks- streets-media, it is thoroughly hybrid.
  • The network movements are a connected multitude in the sense that through ICT’s they are able to connect, group, and synchronise the brains and bodies of huge numbers of subjects, and do so in certain sequences of time, space, emotions, action and language.
  • The mode of communication in the network movements is multimodal (using various technologies) and multichannel (organisation of the different sources of communication), which creates an “extended cyberspace” or circuits that integrate digital channels in wider political and organisation dynamics.
  • “Collective intelligence” constitutes performances or emerging capacities, which may manifest different intellective features, modes or aspects for social movements to enact different types of organisations and multitudinous activities.

The post 2008 US subprime mortgage bubble with its still lasting effects of the financial crisis, saw the rise of a strong social unrest, which manifested loud especially throughout the streets of many Southern European countries.

D-CENT aims to study this social unrest, which in countries with high rates of access to the Internet, has fuelled processes of citizen empowerment, articulated into movements and citizen networks, ranging from the generational landmark of 15M in Spain to 'generacao a rasca' or 'que se lixe la troika', in Portugal.

D-CENT has produced data-analysis and data-visualisation of the appropriation by the network movements of stream channels, blogs, mailing lists and a broad array of other digital platforms and technologies used for political action, which generated huge processes of collective, citizen self- organisation.

In connection to the rise of network-movements and as a reflection of the exhaustion of the traditional forms representative democracy, there have been a number of experiments and prototypes of new forms of democracy.

D-CENT has mapped these experiments, which in the recent years have interested also governments and institutions with mechanisms enabling information spreading, prioritisation, consultation, and cooperation between government and the citizenry (for example in the case of Your Priorities in Iceland and the Digital Cabinet in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil).

Authors

Javier Toret, Antonio Calleja

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D-CENT