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Cyberspace vs. Face-to-Face: Community Organizing in the New Millennium

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image of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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This paper explores the influences of the Internet on the practice of community organizing. There are continuing questions over the scale of community organizing—how much to focus on the local versus the global—as well as over the models of social action—whether to organize institutions or individuals, use conflict or cooperation tactics, and other questions. This paper assesses whether the growing involvement of the Internet in community organizing has any influence on those questions. It looks at the early days of the Internet in community organizing, with particular attention to the free software movement, the Zapatista rebellion, the Communications Decency Act, and the early anti-globalization movement. The analysis of those cases shows that the Internet has influenced the scale of community organizing, allowing for a much better link between local and global efforts. The Internet has not, however, ushered in new effective models of organizing.


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