Europe: crisis, social media and governance from below

This work concentrates on the emergence of ‘governance from below’ (civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, self-organised networks, social movements) in Europe during the crisis. In particular, it investigates how social movements utilise the Internet in order to represent themselves as socially responsible actors for the common good and social change. Special emphasis is given on social movements’ discourses and the ability of citizens to construct social relations, social identity and cosmopolitanism. In order to elaborate on the aforementioned issues, the analysis passes through the lens of General System Theory (GST) of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, which gives a holistic, critical and synthetic approach of the world. The empirical findings of this work demonstrate that social movements promote discursively a cosmopolitan way of thinking about identity, embody a new conception of the world based on transnational nested relations of social movements at different levels via the Internet, and establish the ‘commons’ worldview as a common paradigm, which serves as the model for the participatory and cooperative design of the whole society.

What sounds like evidence of a more global, a more sustainable and a more informed society foreshadowing in Europe is the topic of the doctoral dissertation of our Member Asimina Koukou described in the abstract above. She defended her thesis on 5 December 2019 with the best mark. Katharine Sarikakis, Professor of Communication Science at the University of Vienna, Jean Monnet Chair of European Media Governance and Integration, was her supervisor, Wolfgang Hofkirchner was the second supervisor. The PhD had been supported by the Ludwig von Bertalanffy Scholarship awarded by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science.


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