From Databases and Websites to Bots and Algorithms
A Discussion on Digital Media in The Grassroots Fight Against Corruption Across the World. Higher Seminar in Media and Communication Studies with Alice Mattoni, University of Bologna
Welcome to a higher seminar arranged by the department of Media and Communication Studies at Södertörn University. The seminar will be held in English.
Corruption is a global phenomenon that takes many shapes, affects millions of people worldwide, and develops in different directions and societal sectors. In the past decades, a good wealth of grassroots initiatives to counter corruption flourished, many of them revolving around the use of digital media and supporting processes of societal accountability. Nevertheless, despite some early attempts at categorizing these initiatives, we still lack a comprehensive knowledge of how digital media help people in fighting corruption and with what consequences for the anti-corruption movement organizations. In this talk, I present the concept of Anti-Corruption Technologies as a heuristic to grasp these aspects. Drawing on a range of qualitative data collected in 9 countries worldwide, I will first present the main features of Anti-Corruption Technologies as socio-technical assemblages. Then, I will illustrate how data-related practices in the framework of Anti-Corruption Technologies interlace with media-related practices, hence complicating our understanding of data-activism in the framework of anti-corruption from the grassroots. Finally, I will discuss how data-related and media-related practices in Anti-Corruption Technologies entangle with three different imaginaries related to democracy. In so doing, I show that when people struggle against corruption from the grassroots, engaging in data- and media-related practices, they are also pushing forward specific ways to be a good citizen who is active against corruption.
Alice Mattoni is Associate Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Bologna and the Principal Investigator of the ERC funded research project BIT-ACT that investigates how activists across the world create and employ various types of digital media to counter corruption from the grassroots.
It will be possible to participate in the seminar both live on campus or digitally via Zoom. For more information including Zoom link, contact Saga Hansén (see below).