Environmental Activism and New Media: an Australian perspective 

Abstract

Over the last three decades, new media have attracted much attention to their potential to enable easier, faster, and more universal political action and enhanced civic engagement. Several issues seemingly challenged this potential, including those of corporate media ownership, digital surveillance, and clicktivism. As such, the focus of my study was on discerning more clearly the posited potential of new media to enhance activism, as also contextualised by limitations to that potential. Informed by literature and activist perceptions gathered through 34 face-to-face interviews, I explored this focus in the Australian context in relation to environmental activism in the areas of old-growth forest logging and unconventional gas fracking. I found a robust potential of new media to enhance environmental activism, best realised through the combination of new media strategies with more conventional forms of activism. Issues and limitations remained, and added to those of fake news, echo-chambers, trolling and abusive behaviour, and the limitation most held by Australian activists of operating in an increasingly competitive digital space for environmental and social issues to be raised.

Biography

Dr Diletta L. Calibeo is a Research Fellow at the School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, under the supervision of Prof. R. Hindmarsh, on a project supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC). The project investigates participatory issues and weaknesses of the public inquiry system in Australia in relation to controversial technological development projects (including unconventional gas mining, nuclear, and wind farm industries).

Diletta completed her doctorate at Griffith University in 2018, with a research project on the potential of new media to enhance environmental activism in Australia. Her research interests lie in the area of the environmental social sciences, with a focus on the intersection of media studies, environmental politics and policy, social movement theory, new media studies, and STS studies. She developed her interest for interdisciplinary social science research through her Masters in Law and Economics (LUISS University, Rome), and Bachelors in Political Science (Bologna University).

Venue

This seminar will be held using the video conferencing software, Zoom. If you would like the link, please email sees.seminars@uq.edu.au