Reading & activity: From collective to connective action

What is connective action?

This big change - that social media has become embedded in the ways activists advocate, mobilise and communicate, has been best described in the framework we’d like to offer for your further research of the topic – the framework of “connective action”. The term was coined by Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science from University of Washington, to describe citizens coming of age today who tend to seek personally expressive modes of action about problems they can share with others via personal communication media: “At the core of this logic is the recognition of digital media as organizing agents. Participation becomes self-motivating as personally expressive content is shared with, and recognized by, others who, in turn, repeat these networked sharing activities. In this connective logic, taking public action or contributing to a common. good becomes an act of personal expression and recognition or self-validation achieved by sharing ideas and actions in trusted relationships.” (p. 752) [1].    Rosenbaum and Bouvier go further to say that contemporary movements differ from traditional movements in “its reliance on networked technologies, its creation of a loosely connected, continually shifting community, and its focus on individualized expressions of engagement”  (p. 120) [2].

Before we move to the next chapter, read this article from The Conversation - an edited and condensed version of the lecture Prof. Bennett delivered in 2014, on the public's answer to democratic dysfunction and how citizens seek connective action.   


Reflect on some of the hashtags you followed closely in 2020 and 2021 relating change, social movements, justice and equity.


[1] Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2012). The logic of connective action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics. Information, communication & society, 15(5), 739-768. 

[2] Rosenbaum, J. E., & Bouvier, G. (2020). Twitter, social movements and the logic of connective action: Activism in the 21st century–an introduction.

Last modified: Wednesday, 15 June 2022, 10:59 AM