kim stanley robinson and the science friday book club | new york 2140

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Berkman Klein Faculty Associate, Zeynep Tufekci joins us to talk about her new book, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest.

To understand a thwarted Turkish coup, an anti–Wall Street encampment, and a packed Tahrir Square, we must first comprehend the power and the weaknesses of using new technologies to mobilize large numbers of people. An incisive observer, writer, and participant in today’s social movements, Zeynep Tufekci explains in this accessible and compelling book the nuanced trajectories of modern protests—how they form, how they operate differently from past protests, and why they have difficulty persisting in their long-term quests for change.

Tufekci speaks from direct experience, combining on-the-ground interviews with insightful analysis. She describes how the internet helped the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, the necessity of remote Twitter users to organize medical supplies during Arab Spring, the refusal to use bullhorns in the Occupy Movement that started in New York, and the empowering effect of tear gas in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. These details from life inside social movements complete a moving investigation of authority, technology, and culture—and offer essential insights into the future of governance.

About Zeynep

Zeynep Tufekci is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill at the School of Information and Library Science with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Sociology. She is also currently also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She was previously an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research revolves around the interaction between technology and social, cultural and political dynamics. She is particularly interested in collective action and social movements, complex systems, surveillance, privacy, and sociality.

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