Social Imaginaries in a Fragmented World and the Role of Imagined Audiences

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In the aftermath of scandals such as Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook data, revelations of surveillance and misuse of social media data continue to emerge. For many users it remains unclear exactly what kinds of data collection digital platforms afford, and how data is accessed, analysed and used (Uldam, 2017). As a result of such uncertainties, what we think, say and feel about digital media, what we term digital imaginaries, have become imbued with distrust. This article focuses on digital imaginaries in relations between social movement actors and multinational companies (MNCs). Theoretically, it draws on the notion of social imaginaries, which has been used to capture people’s implicit understandings of and expectations about society (Taylor, 2002) and the internet (Mansell, 2012) . Empirically, it examines how social movement actors make sense of digital media, including smartphones, tablets, computers, social media platforms and perceive their own agency in society and in relation to MNCs, that is, how imaginaries are embedded in and shape power relations. More specifically, it draws on interviews with media and communication managers from social movement organisations. On the basis of this, the article points to digital imaginaries of distrust and a David versus Goliath struggle.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2 Dec 2022
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2022
EventImaginaries - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 1 Dec 20222 Dec 2022


LocationCopenhagen Business School

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