Covid-19, Digital Activism and the Changing Dynamics of Social Movements II

Type: Virtual Panel
Theme: Geographers and COVID-19: Setting Our Direction for the Future
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 36
Organizers: Nathalia Santos Ocasio
Chairs: Nathalia Santos Ocasio


The declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organisation in mid-March 2020 disrupted mass mobilizations taking place across different geographies. As many have turned to the internet to maintain the movements’ momentum, their sites and strategies have shifted. Simultaneously, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by US police forces and the racial inequalities highlighted by the pandemic re-energized the Black Lives Matter movement on a global scale. However, while movements have expanded their demands and allyships in this conjuncture, they are set against a backdrop of risks, including surveillance, police abuse, and viral contagion. On this panel, we address the dynamics of in-person and digital activism and social movements – both largely understood – during the global pandemic. We pay specific attention to the limits of ‘slacktivism’ and performative activism, as more people are able to “join” virtual movements. At the same time, we reflect on the transformative potential of emerging digital spaces during pandemic-mandated lockdowns. Drawing on stories from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States that highlight demands for housing, racial justice, women’s rights and climate justice, we reflect on the shifting strategies of activism and social movements, including the circulation of art, the act of “acuerpamiento” (or self-summoning to protect vulnerable bodies) and the re-purposing of online platforms for social movement building. Through a discussion of these cases, we will explore the changing dynamics of social movements, including raising concerns about unequal internet access and surveillance, and the increasing use of smartphones in activism. Here, we are attentive to the repercussions, on a local and global scale, of putting one’s body and IP address on the line for social justice.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Panelist Sterling Johnson Temple University 15 9:35 AM
Panelist Dairon Morejon Perez Queen's University 15 9:50 AM
Panelist Hilal Kara Queen's University 15 10:05 AM
Introduction Nathalia Santos Ocasio 10 10:20 AM
Panelist Martina Jakubchik-Paloheimo Queens University 15 10:30 AM

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