Dani Pickering

MA Student in Media Studies

Encouraging political activation in a digitalised Aotearoa

Supervisors: Dr Kathleen Kuehn & Dr Michael Daubs

ABSTRACT

Stagnant pay, increased work hours and other increasingly precarious working conditions are restricting the capacity of working people to meaningfully participate in political processes, worsening their economic disenfranchisement and further widening the inequality gap. Coinciding with this decline has been the rise of digital networking technologies, which are more closely associated with horizontal organising networks and recent movements (e.g. Occupy Wall Street) than traditionally centralised, hierarchical organisations (e.g. trade unions). These technological developments have fundamentally changed the ways in which people participate in politics today, with no clear consensus regarding their overall merit for class-based social movements.

Using interviews with organisers from three social movement organisations seeking to activate and mobilise working-class audiences (Unions Wellington, Auckland Action Against Poverty and People Against Prisons Aotearoa), I conduct a thematic analysis of their media use and communications strategies. The results suggest pathways toward more effective political activation processes which further complicate existing assumptions about the deeply intertwined nature of online and offline engagement strategies.

BIOGRAPHY

Dani completed an Honours degree (first class) at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017, having also studied at Western Washington University (BA) in the United States. Their research interests include the political economy of the media, political engagement and gender. Dani has also conducted media research in the private sector.