Digital Technology and Voice: How Platforms Shape Institutional Processes through Visibilization

Ali Aslan Gümüsay, Mia Raynard, Oana Brindusa Albu, Michael Etter, Thomas Roulet

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Abstract

Digital technologies, and the affordances they provide, can shape institutional processes in significant ways. In the last decade, social media and other digital platforms have redefined civic engagement by enabling new ways of connecting, collaborating, and mobilizing. In this article, we examine how technological affordances can both enable and hinder institutional processes through visibilization – which we define as the enactment of technological features to foreground and give voice to particular perspectives and discourses while silencing others. We study such dynamics by examining #SchauHin, an activist campaign initiated in Germany to shine a spotlight on experiences of daily racism. Our findings show how actors and counter-actors differentially leveraged the technological features of two digital platforms to shape the campaign. Our study has implications for understanding the role of digital technologies in institutional processes as well as the interplay between affordances and visibility in efforts to deinstitutionalize discriminatory practices and institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Transformation and Institutional Theory
EditorsThomas Gengenhuber, Danielle Logue, C. R. (Bob) Hinings, Michael Barrett
Number of pages29
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2022
Pages57-85
ISBN (Print)9781802622225
ISBN (Electronic)9781802622218, 9781802622232
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Volume83
ISSN0733-558X

Keywords

  • Affordances
  • Digital technology
  • Institutional theory
  • Platforms
  • Social media
  • Social movements

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