Visiting PhD talk: Sergio Barbosa [23 June 2023]

Visiting PhD candidate Sergio Barbosa from Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra will give a talk on Friday 23 June 4-5pm at ETLab.

Global South WhatsAppers (2016-2022): towards an emerging research agenda

Abstract: This PhD research investigates how the WhatsApp appropriation is redesigning political participation and resistance today. I argue that a new type of political activist is emerging amongst contemporary social mobilizations: the WhatsApper, a (digital) activist who intensely appropriates the chat app leveraging its app affordances for participation in political life. The theoretical framework combines digital sociology and digital activism to investigate identities, action repertoires, organizational forms and imaginaries of resistance movements in Brazil. The qualitative approach includes a digital ethnography of selected WhatsApp groups, a content analysis of sample chat conversations, and a number of face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. This project will focus on making apparent that WhatsApp is not only a chat app for "hanging out" with like-minded people, but also the battlefield itself for the political struggle and a central element guiding collective action today, as well as it will capture the behind the scenes on WhatsApp activism, contextualizing their use and appropriation in the Global South.

Keywords: Chat apps, WhatsAppers; Global South; Digital Activism.

Sérgio Barbosa is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra. He has been a Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) fellow (2020-2024). Currently, he is a Digital Humanim junior fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna. Previously, Mr. Barbosa was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum, Germany.