Sisterhood on Twitter”

February 18, 2019
International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanitis, University of Tübingen

Wilhelmstr. 19
Tübingen 72074

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Today, it seems that a hashtag is the means of choice to show solidarity with women/LGBTI* or advocate for gender justice. Social media and in particular Twitter are used by government bodies, civil society, activists, but also companies to promote gender equality. Examples of collective action that focus on the advancement of women’s and gender issues include the incredibly popular #MeToo initiative against sexual harassment in the United States, the relatable #YoTeCreo campaign in Spain, but also the #CzarnyProtest mobilization to push back against a proposed ban on abortion in Poland. Examples of top-down initiatives in support of gender justice include the UN campaign for IDEVAW #OrangetheWorld and the European Commission’s initiative #SayNoStopVAW.  All of the above cases represents instances in which people claimed visibility by aggregating their voices and speaking up on a given issue. While in some cases more than in others, the overall impression emerging from these initiatives is that of a powerful show of horizontal democracy. However, the picture is probably not as clear-cut as it might look at first sight. Deeply rooted mechanisms of exclusion de facto prevent a large portion of the public from participating in these forms of collective action. Similarly, inequalities in the distribution of social media visibility seriously question the widespread assumption that anyone’s voice can actually be heard, as long as they tweet loud enough.

At the Centre for Ethics in Tübingen, we will discuss the following and related questions: What are mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in ICT-based collective actions? What is the actual visibility that these kind of actions can hope to achieve? Who are the most visible actors within their narrow context? What narratives do these actors voice? How do the actors’ narratives of solidarity and justice clash with feminist ideas about gender equality and justice? We encourage Master’s students and Ph.D. candidates to join our workshop. The goal of the workshop is to develop new thoughts about the topic at hand, gather inspiration for your own work, and connect with academics working on similar issues.

If you would like to contribute a 10-minute presentation, please send your abstract of max. 500 words to the organizers of the workshop by January 20, 2019. If you would like to attend the workshop merely as a participant, please register with the organizers by February 10, 2019.

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February 10, 2019, 2:00pm CET

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