(P28) From digital divide to techno-elitists’ social movement: Updates on digital activism in Southeast Asia
Fri 11:00-12:30 K10 | 2.40
- Yearry Setianto Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa
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Digital Activism of Sabah History Lovers on Facebook
Aleksandra Kasatkina Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS
My presentation will be focused on the Facebook groups devoted to the local history and heritage of Sabah (Malaysia). The historical past in the form of digitalized artifacts, memories, archival documents, and photographs is re-contextualised and reconsidered in these groups, being connected to the new meanings and agendas. The digital landscape of this sector of the Sabahan Facebook is organized between the two main poles: scholarly informed and organized interest in local history and cultural and/or ethnical revival. I will show how artifacts and people are distributed and redistributed between these two poles, and how the relations between history and politics are constantly defined and redefined in the social media discussions.
Making the Protest (In)Visible on Social Media: Examining the Visuality of Tech-Savvy Political Protest in Southeast Asia
Yearry Setianto Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa
Contemporary political protests in various countries in Southeast Asia provide interesting cases to study, especially on the relationship between communication technology-driven affordance and protest culture in the region. By examining the current protests in Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia, this paper aims to provide a better understanding how anti-government movements in these countries, mainly led by youth, are not only utilizing social media for visibility but they also present appealing content to global audience using pop culture reference during their mass demonstration. Using qualitative image interpretation of the social media content of political protests, we found that the visual messages being circulated are mainly dominated by the negative portrayal of the government and anti-protest police force and heroic actions of the masses. On one hand, the content aims to de-legitimize the state actors being criticized for their policy/action. On the other hand, the visual aspects are also utilized to provide an alternative view of the protests since the protesters are afraid that the mainstream media reports (those relying on sources from states-affiliated media). This article seeks to further discuss implications of such social media-driven visibility to the protest culture in the region.
Reclaiming Native Customary Lands and Thwarting Deforestation: Act of Resistance among Sarawak Indigenous Peoples as Observed through Facebook Digital Activism
Nuurrianti Jalli Northern State University
The advent of digital media, which consolidates social media such as Facebook, has increased the othered indigenous people’s visibility. This chapter is a short exploration of Facebook’s use as a platform for resistance and political contestations among indigenous peoples of Sarawak. With a specific focus on the native customary right (NCR) land and deforestation issues in Sarawak, this chapter will provide an overview of how indigenous groups in Sarawak, particularly the Dayaks, utilize Facebook as a place for resistance, advocacy, political interaction. While there have been studies on activism and social media, research with a specific focus on indigenous activism has yet to obtain any traction in academia. Through netnographic study and data analysis of several Facebook groups from 1 April 2019 to 1 April 2020, I found Facebook is becoming a popular vehicle among indigenous peoples to actively engage in critical discourse on local issues, including issues surrounding the right to native customary lands, and deforestation in Sarawak. Digital activism has enabled the Dayak community to highlight their plights and concerns, not only among the local community but also to global audiences. Through the lens of public sphere theory, I argue that the adoption of social media as a place for social discourse guarantees interactivity at both local and global levels.
Social Activism in the New Digital Era during Covid-19 Pandemic of Indonesia: The Muslim Middle Class and Faith-Based Charity
Ariza Fuadi Graduate School of International Development (GSID), Nagoya University
The covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way people live all over the world, including Indonesia. The condition has forced the society not only to follow the health protocol of Covid-19 but also to compromise with the economic instability. The Muslim communities and faith-based charity organizations in Indonesia were motivated to get involved in taking care of this situation. They use advances in digital media to promote their programs, especially for fundraising and distribution. Using digital media is actually not a novel strategy for the Muslim middle class in urban and non-governmental charity organizations. However, this pandemic makes the situation more challenging for the practice of faith-based charity, especially in rural areas, because of keeping the health protocol of Covid-19. Therefore, this paper primarily examines the contributions of the Muslim middle class and faith-based charity institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic of Indonesia. It will focus on what are the opportunities and challenges in practicing this movement during the pandemic. It will also answer why digital media, during the pandemic, has become a valuable tool to promote faith-based charity among Muslim society in Indonesia.
The advancement of techno-driven social changes in Southeast Asia is currently being challenged by various factors, varies from digital divide to the government’s censorship over the digital sphere. Yet, people are further employing social media platforms creatively to exercise their socio-political agendas. This panel covers three different cases of contemporary digital activism in Southeast Asia. First paper discusses how the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, Malaysia utilize Facebook as a medium of resistance regarding their native customary rights (NCR) land and deforestation issues. Second paper examines how Indonesian Muslim middle-class and faith-based charity organizations re-organize their fundraising strategies via social media, mainly to minimize economic hardship (caused by Covid-19 pandemic) of lower income communities in the country. The third paper provides a comparison of students’ protests in Indonesia and Thailand in how these digital natives
powered themselves with social media playfully, not only to further amplify their political messages but also to avoid direct confrontation with their government’s censorship laws. Here we argue that despite various barriers, Southeast Asian digital activists try to renegotiate their relationships with digital media to overcome those obstacles. Further consequences of such strategies are also discussed in each paper.