Everyday self-organising social movements and the role of social media in citizen engagement

Petro Poutanen, Andrea Botero, Sanna Marttila, Mikko Villi


This paper examines the role of digital storytelling in the context of small-scale local activities. We introduce the theoretical concept of ‘everyday self-organising social movements’ (ESSM), which refers to small-scale, citizen-led programs that aim at improving their neighbourhoods and cities. In theorising ESSM, we identify the tension between bottom-up and top-down actions aimed at fortifying the community, and discuss how this tension can be transcended through the concept of self-organisation. Our multidisciplinary research framework combines ideas from the fields of digital communication, media studies, urban planning and collaborative design. From the perspective of digital storytelling, we demonstrate how digital social media plays the role of a catalyst in the organisation of social movements and in the construction of identities. To make our case, we present six examples: three from Helsinki, Finland, and three from Tokyo, Japan. Finally, we discuss the conditions that city and municipality officers, decision-makers and urban planners can mobilise to support the activity of mundane but crucial, community-based social actions.

Palabras clave

Digital storytelling, social media, communication infrastructure, social movements, self-organisation

Texto completo:



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