International symposium Digital citizenship, held in Ljubljana on May 24, 2016, addressed political participation which has been changing under the influence of a growing social complexity, the rise of information and communication technologies and media convergence.
Speakers from Slovenia, Albania and USA addressed two thematic foci, one related to the powers and communication of new social movements and the other on the communication patterns of institutional politics.
Papers addressing the role of movements reflected on the potential of movements to counterpart institutional politics. Discussants reflected on the unequal power relations in contemporary societies, and in this context analysed organization and communication of various movements and their struggle for global justice. Case studies included food movement, up-rising movement in Slovenia (in the period 2012-13) and protests in Albania (2012-14).
The second focus of the symposium was reflection on the communication of institutional (party) politics and its communicative patterns of “instrumentalization of citizenship”. Speakers addressed detachment of the political elite from citizenry, commodification of political communication, including distancing of politics from young citizens and addressing citizens by way of promoting national symbolism.
The symposium was organized to present results of two research projects. The project Digital citizenship viewed digital citizenship as referring to citizen action in equal relations within the polity, underscoring the study of opportunities and constraints of the online environment, and considering a series of circumstances determining participation in the (European) public sphere. The project was coordinated by the Peace Institute, Institute for Contemporary Social and Political studies, a SEENPM member, in cooperation with the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana and the Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska, with financial support of the Slovenian Research agency (2013-2016).
The symposium also presented some of the results of the project Communication Practices in the Context of Social Uprising and Requests for Public Accountability that analysed the concept of accountability at the intersection of protests and political and media reactions to them. The project was coordinated by the Foundation Mediacentar Sarajevo, with School of Journalism and Public Relations, Skopje, and Albanian Media Institute, Tirana, as partners, and the Peace Institute as mentoring institution, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Regional Research Promotion Programme Western Balkans, in cooperation with the University of Freiburg (2015-2016).