Technologies within transnational social activist communities: an ethnographic study of the european social forum

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ACM Press
ICT support for transnational social movements and civil society organizations is an important field of research: not only due to the increased political importance of this sector in a globalizing world but also due to their organizational characteristics. Transnational social movement organizations are typically characterized by a lack of resources, an absence of formal hierarchical structures, and differences in languages and culture among the activists. In order to design appropriate technological support for social activists' communities, it is important to understand their work practices which widely differ from traditional business organizations. This paper investigates into the organizational practices of the European Social Forum, in particular its 2008 meeting in Malmo, Sweden. We describe organizational practices in preparing and conducting the event. Since the goal of our research is directed towards enhancing the capabilities of social movements by means of ICT, we focus particularly on the usage of ICT.