Fridays For Future: Using Social Media in the Mobilization of a Global Social Movement
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This master’s thesis in International Education and Development contributes to the understanding of how social movements can mobilize globally through digital advocacy. Specifically, it focuses on the youth-led climate justice movement Fridays for Future (FFF). This is done by examining the research question: How has the Fridays for Future-movement used social media to mobilize on a global scale? By observing and collecting public digital content from social media accounts who represent the movement, I have examined the movement’s use of social media to spread awareness of the cause, promote their strikes and protests, and build community on a global scale. Further, the thesis used the same methods to look closer at three national FFF-groups, namely FFF Colombia, Afghanistan, and Norway. This showed how the global movement is impacted by local circumstances, and vice versa, bringing me to present a ‘glocal’ understanding of the mobilization of global social movements. Last, the theories of Castells (2009; 2015), Morozov (2012), and Gaventa (2006; Gaventa and Martorano, 2016), are used to examine the power structures limiting and/or enabling FFF’s global mobilization through social media, focusing on inequalities in access and representation, censorship and surveillance by governments and commercial actors, the role of mass-media, and the movement’s own ability to mobilize resources. The research shows that while social media can be a highly effective tool for social movement mobilization, there are problematic aspects of this which one should be conscious of.