Weapons of Mass Participation: Social Media, Radicalization, and the Politics of Crowdfunding for War in Iraq and Syria
In the last five years, North American and European civilians have been traveling by the hundreds to engage in combat operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the globalized and decentralized battlefields of Iraq and Syria. This talk focuses on two aspects of this phenomenon. First, Nicole argues that these individuals represent a different kind of fighter from both private military contractors and battlefield laborers profiled in the private security literature. She suggests that these combatants represent a structural difference in their relationship to conflict insofar as capital becomes a means rather than an end in the innovation of violence. She refers to these combatants as violence entrepreneurs.
The second part of the talk focuses on how the imagined communities who support these fighters, both morally and financially, through the banal networks of Facebook and peer-to-peer funding platforms like GoFundMe, suggest a radical deviation from conventional organizational structures and capacities for waging combat. Here, crowdfunding platforms function as a kind of prosthesis that allows individuals to participate in wars and to mobilize forms of nationalism that do not always graft onto the state. While crowdfunding may not fully displace the collective action benefits that the state organizes through taxation, these platforms allow for the introduction of a new iPhone-armed competitor on these networked battlefields.
This talk is hosted by Lund University Internet Institute (LUii) and Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES). It is open to everyone, and doesn't require registration.
This symposium is part of 'The Digital Society' science week, which takes place between 24-30 April.
See all events during this week (in Swedish)
The science week will be kicked-off with a concert on 23 April at 17:00 pm. The concert is free of charge but will require a ticket to ensure a seat (a small fee of 20 SEK will be charged). Musicians will play music from famous TV- and computer games in the City Hall here in Lund. The event will be held in Swedish but can still be enjoyed by English-speaking participants.
Learn more about the concert