Mar 31 2009 3:34pm to Mar 31 2009 3:34pm

From Social Network to Social Movement

“From Social Network to Social Movement”

Sponsors:  Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School & the Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Digitally-connected social networks are fast becoming a key ingredient of today’s social movements.  But scholarship about networks – social, professional, and otherwise – has only just begun to penetrate political science and legal literatures.  This workshop seeks to propel that integration.  Key questions will include:  given recent research insights about social movements, and new technology enabling transnational social networks, what are the points of synergy between successful social movements and robust social networks?  What do today’s digitally-connected social movements teach us about the relationship between networks and movements?  Are online social networks merely a laboratory for testing empirical claims about social movements, or do they exhibit unique network properties?  Do they perhaps offer new political opportunities?  


10:00a-10:15a:  Opening Remarks

10:15a-12:15p:   Structures and Properties of “Network Power”

Using the idea that network position affects network power as a frame for the discussion – what are the properties of social network power? -- network experts will present their findings and set the stage for the day's discussion about how networked action can create political opportunities.
-    David Lazer (moderator), Associate Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Program on Networked Governance, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

-    Wendy Wong, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

-    David Grewal, Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows at Harvard University; author of NETWORK POWER

-    Damon Centola, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences, MIT Sloan School of Management

12:30p-2:30p:  Narrative and the Network

Narratives are a key component of successful social movements – both for attracting new members, and sustaining the identities of current members.  Are social networks similarly constituted by shared narratives?  Can we identify universal components of social-change narratives?

-    Marshall Ganz (moderator), Lecturer in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

-    Thomas Hegghammer, Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

-    Tammy Smith, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University

-    Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO,

Wednesday, 2:45p-4:45p:  Networked Activism: Explicitly Networked Movements

The final workshop will examine current social movements that rely explicitly on social networking tools, asking what challenges they face and under what conditions they are most likely to succeed.

-    Colin Maclay (moderator), Managing Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society

-    Andrew K. Woods (moderator), Hauser Fellow, Harvard Law School and Gates Scholar at Cambridge University

-    Joe Green, Founder of Facebook Causes

-    Ben Wikler, Campaign Director for

-    Chris Csikszentmihályi, Director of the Computing Culture Group, MIT Media Lab

Berkman Center
Copyright License: 
Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Unported

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Last updated date

January 31, 2015