From the Bersih movement in Kuala Lumpur to the recent “Action to Defend Islam” protests in Jakarta, in the last decade we have witnessed numerous protests and mass movements take place in Southeast Asia. Causes and motivations of these protests are varied. They all, however, incorporated the uses of mobile social media (social media platforms accessed through mobile devices) in mobilizing the mass. How is social media utilized in the production of alternative spaces for protests movements? What are the roles of social media in the making of these collective actions? I take on spatial and historical analysis to offer an in-depth understanding of the relationship between protest movements, social media and actions on the ground. Using empirical evidence from Southeast Asian context, in this talk I argue that while social media enable different ways to participate in collectivized social activities, its roles and practices are shaped, constructed, and reconstructed by diverse social, cultural, and historical contexts in which they are situated.



Merlyna Lim is a Canada Research Chair in Digital Media and Global Network Society with the School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University. Lim’s research and teaching interests revolve around socio-political implications of media and technology, particularly in relations to citizenship, activism, and social movements. Using empirical evidence from Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Lim’s current research attempts to offer an in-depth understanding of the relationship between movements, urban space, and digital media. Prior to joining Carleton university, Lim has held positions in Princeton University, Arizona State University, and the University of Southern California.