Space and place matters: A tool for the analysis of geolocated and mapped protests.

Rodríguez-Amat, J. R.

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Rodríguez-Amat, J. R., & Brantner, C. (2016). Space and place matters: A tool for the analysis of geolocated and mapped protests. New Media & Society, 18(6), 1027–1046.

Geomedia , Geotagging , Locative Media , Mapping , Mediatization , Place , Social Media , Social Movements , Space

Crowdmapping and geolocated protests form complex multilayered systems of communicated spaces and places that can only be partially grasped by the available literature. This article responds to these limitations by presenting a model for the analysis of the composition of space and place in networked geolocated activities. The model identifies the several forms of expression, opens four modes of analysis (representations, textures, structures, and connections), and allows the consideration of the communication devices involved, while highlighting the forms of power behind the social and cultural practices of protests and crowdmapping. The model is applied to the case of Voces25s, a protest action against the Spanish government’s austerity measures in September 2012, which relied heavily on interactive, networked maps. Furthermore, the raised sensitivity for space and place as forms of social (in)justice opens a fertile empirical research agenda in the area of the governance of communicative spaces.

Main finding
This study presents an approach for analyzing the composition of space and place in so-called "networked geolocated activities," emphasizing the non-objective nature of maps in crowdmapping and geolocated protests. The context for the analysis is the protest action against the Spanish government in 2012. The proposed analysis model includes four modes to consider: (a) representations, (b) textures, (c) structures, and (d) connections. Examples of the analysis follows: (a) representations: a map of hashtags, along with other communications (e.g., images of fenced off streets, newspapers, etc.) contribute to the broader representation of place; (b) textures: overlapping textures (e.g., streets, people, traffic) converge as a dynamic field; (c) structures: structures of media define inequalities of power (e.g., who can move freely, and who cannot); (d) connections: the sphere of connectivity is the complex space formed by the digital networks, streets, citizens, and press.

Description of method used in the article
Theoretical analysis of the Voces25s demonstration around the Spanish Congress in Madrid, Spain in 2012, which arose in response to austerity measures imposed by the Spanish government. A key aspect of the movement was an interactive, crowdsourced digital map that geolocated tweets of various hashtags associated with the demonstration (e.g., related to where people were, which areas involved conflicts with police, which areas were peaceful, etc.).

Of some practical use if combined with other research

Organising categories

Theoretical (Delete me)
Physical types
Geographic locations