Mobile ensembles: The uses of mobile phones for social protest by Spain’s indignados


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Type of work: Book Chapter


Anthropology | e-Democracy | e-Politics | Participation | Social Media & Social Software




During the 2011 wave of protests millions of citizens around the globe employed a vast range of digital media to demand greater democratic freedoms and social justice. Although mobile phones were widely used in all these protests, their significance remains unclear. This chapter draws from both qualitative and quantitative research to shed light on the recent uses of mobile technologies for social protest, with Spain’s Indignados (or 15M) movement as the case study. The chapter argues for the importance of processual analyses of the new protests that situate the uniqueness of each mobile technology and ‘mobile ensemble’ within a particular moment in the collective biography of a movement. This approach reveals the importance of smartphones as new articulators of online spaces and occupied physical spaces, especially via Twitter and live streaming.