Associate Professor lecture – Josepha Wessels

Josepha Wessels, lecturer at K3, holds her docent lecture with the title: Embodiment, Digitality and the study of Media and Communication for Sustainable Development and Social Change.

When: Tuesday 5 October, 14:30 – 15:30 (CEST)
Where: Zoom
Register: Follow this link

Abstract

Global movements such as the Occupy movement, the Fridays for Futures climate change protests, Black Lives Matter, but also the Arab revolutions, are major global social change events occurring outside of the development industry, and surprisingly, or perhaps not, do not feature heavily in either of the two scholarly fields of Communication for Development and Social Change (CDSC) and Strategic Communication Management (SCM).

All above mentioned social change events emerged outside of the realm of the international development industry, where intergovernmental organizations, non-profits, corporate companies and philanthropic actors define post-colonial global economic power relations. This scholarly gap within the fields of CDSC and SCM creates an opportunity to fill a need to better understand how local communities proactively or reactively use their bodies and digital communication technologies in reaction to authoritarianism, structural inequality and racism, extremism, sociopolitical crises, climate change events and pandemics.

Embodiment, digitality and social change

In this lecture, I will explore embodiment, digitality and social change and describe three vignettes of digitally mediated social change events; the Syrian uprisings, the subsequent war and waves of forced migration that contributed to the global ‘refugee crisis’ and diasporic digitality, and the Sudanese revolution during the ‘second Arab spring’ of 2019.

All vignettes are examples in which, often young, change actors, guided by social technical imaginaries of a better and more sustainable future, used digital communication tools and put their bodies on the line for social change, while at the same time facing major challenges and obstacles by an increasingly polarized geopolitical and neoliberal world, whereby extremist groups and autocratic states are surveilling, suppressing and literally killing their bodies and voices-for-change.

The post-covid-19 recovery

The post-covid-19 recovery, following instantaneous rapid global digitalization and increasing ubiquity of video conferencing tools and immersive media technologies, provides another chance for the afore-mentioned two scholarly fields to engage deeper in strategic research that puts focus on how change actors take up and operationalize social technical imaginaries in collective and connective actions to ‘change the world’.

Lastly, I will give a reflection on communication and embodiment post-covid and how social technical imaginaries will continue to influence the way we communicate, in proximity and at a distance, embodied and dis-embodied, taking into account the latest developments in immersive communication technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR).

Follow this link to visit the event page and to register