Social Movements & Culture

Post a link to some example of cultural production (art, film, music, or some other form). Write a few sentences to explain what you think is interesting about it, and how it connects to your research topic. Comment on two of your group members’ posts as well.

Your link and sentences are due by 1pm April 30th, replies by the following week. Two places to get you started:


12 thoughts on “Social Movements & Culture”

    How to Start a Revolution shows how to conduct a nonviolent protest step by step. It was very interesting to see how Gene Sharp’s theories and tactics of nonviolent resistances were being practiced widely around the world and how many of the revolutions followed the steps Sharp has described in the film. This film uses the Serbian Revolution as an example to illustrate how nonviolent resistance works. In addition, the Serbian Revolution was heavily influenced by Sharp’s work, From Dictatorship to Democracy and it can be said that it was one of the important factors that led to the success of Serbian Revolution.
    A Force More Powerful begins with the story of Gandhi, the father of civil resistance, and explores through various individuals who made contribution in nonviolent resistance. It was interesting to see the development of nonviolent resistance and learn about various figures who have influenced nonviolent resistance. The Serbian Revolution was also a nonviolent resistance toward their dictator, Milosevic and it can be said that various individuals introduced in this film played an important role in creating strategies in the Serbian Revolution.
    Bringing Down a Dictator illustrates how people of Serbia brought down their dictator, Slobodan Milosevic through the Serbian Revolution in October 2000. It was interesting to see how Otpor, a student led organization played an important role in mobilizing the people of Serbia to participate in the revolution and eventually led to the success of the revolution.

    1. Hi Julia,

      I am really interested in the film of A Force More Powerful since I learned the story of Gandhi when I was in my high school’s history class. Personally, Gandhi is an admirable leader because of his strong determination to achieve the success by nonviolent resistance. When it comes to the revolution, it is necessary to get the general idea about the history and the development of nonviolent resistance though several great figures. This kind of revolution should be the most peaceful and safe way for people fighting for the unsatisfying situation. I believe that the nonviolent resistance always be regarded as the first phrase of each revolution. However, the attitude of government plays a significant role in turning over the situation.

    2. It is very interesting to see how the nonviolent resistance works. It was nice to see how nonviolent resistance goes because I have seen that peaceful protests can even turn out to be violent protests. Government’s response plays a huge role in this because it is what makes people frustrated. If the government officials come together and give announcements in a very harsh way, of course it will make people angrier and it will result in a bigger and violent protests.

    3. I think the How to Start a Revolution film is really interesting because I find it kind of funny that there is a film specifically made to show people how to conduct a nonviolent protest and how to do it successfully. I also find it interesting that the Serbian revolution was influenced by Sharp, who then uses that example in his film on nonviolent protests.


    This video is a propaganda video that was realized by ISIS, showing British hostage John Cantlie going around Mosul, dispelling many of the rumors and reports from the outside media about the conditions in ISIS held territory. I think this video is extremely interesting because here you have an ISIS produced video, staring a foreign hostage, who is being used to “show” how everything is nice and wonderful in ISIS held Iraq, unlike what has been reported in the outside media. Even though its obvious that Cantlie is being forced to say these facts, and that they are produced by ISIS, its interesting to think about why they would release a video like this, when they know almost no one is actually going to believe what’s being said. This video connects back to my research because in the end it shows how ISIS really has mastered the use of social media, and how they meticulously seek to control their image online.

    1. As you have pointed out, I think ISIS is really making good use of the social media. However, I think that it may not be so obvious to the people inside Iraq that the propaganda videos are false. I think some people who have not experienced the reality of ISIS may believe what is being said in the video is true and be persuaded by the propaganda video to join the ISIS or become supporters of ISIS. Moreover, I think that this is one way of making the members and supporters of ISIS to feel good about themselves and justify their actions.


    This video is very interesting as it tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park. It includes interviews from participants of the protests. It also talks about the police violence during the protests and how the uprising is against the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his authoritarian rule.

    This video talks about the chronological events for the past year of uprising, resistance, and repression since the Gezi Park uprising in Turkey. This video includes the traces that the protests left and how the people are protesting from day to day for those people who lost their lives during the protests. The protests are also about urban redevelopment plans, against police repression, and increasingly authoritarian rule of former prime minister, now President Erdogan. It is a very informative video to show how big uprisings do not just end; in fact, it leaves many traces and people become more aware of what is going on.

    1. I knew how violent police forces are when it comes to social movements. However, it was shocking to see how violent police forces were during the Gezi Park protests. I also thought that your case was interesting in that even if the police forces supported the government to protect decision made by the prime minister, people were able to stop the government decision to destroy the Gezi Park.

    2. Hi Elif,

      Before watching these two videos, I haven’t realized the scale of those protestors and the seriousness of violent police forces happening there. The protesters are continually struggling for urban redevelopment projects, police repression, and the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Erdoğan. It seems that the conflict between the government and people will never end, but the violence might. I believe that most of the revolutions are derived from the remaining historical issue. Although there are many common characteristics among different revolutions worldwide, the uniqueness of its history can never be ignored.

    During the Hong Kong umbrella revolution, the umbrella was initially used by activists in Hong Kong to shield protestors from police pepper spray. But it has quickly emerged as an unlikely symbol of resistance in ongoing pro-democracy protests there. According to the article, throughout the protests, activists have distributed imagery incorporating the umbrella and other symbols of resistance on social media. In fact, I am so impressed by these powerful protest art works behind the revolution itself. The enthusiasm showed by every participator demonstrating the huge impact of social media on the revolution, which has perfectly matched my interests of the research. Furthermore, I have realized that with the development of information technology shared globally, especially the Internet, it is hard for the Chinese government to control strictly the information that reaches the public
    This is a short film documentary titled “2013 China Lab –Hong Kong: One Metropolis; Two Systems,” supporting my research plan for examining the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China. After watching the documentary, I have gained a further understanding of this complicated relationship and learned the unique Chinese constitutional principle of “one country, two systems.” The documentary is paying more attention to the development of Hong Kong’s economics. It must be noted that with the fully economic support from mainland China, this kind of political relationship is more depending on frequent trades and cultural exchanges. No one can deny the fact that the unique status of Hong Kong given by central government of mainland China, bringing it more confidence and opportunities to present itself on the global stage.
    This reminds me of that actually not everyone in Hong Kong support this movement, especially the older generation. The older generation is actively opposed to it because they are more concerned about economic stability of Hong Kong.

    1. I liked your article on the use of the umbrella as a symbol for the Honk Kong protests, because I think its interesting seeing how these “symbols of revolutions” come about and are “decided on” in a sense, because sometimes they are extremely creative or out there, and you just wonder how an image like that was picked.

  5. Yang, I find your topic very interesting as i can relate some parts of it to my research topic. It was interesting to take a look at some of the images and how they symbolize the resistance in Hong Kong at time time. Same things were going on during the Gezi Park protests, people were writing/drawing all sorts of things related to the resistance and there were a lot of good ones that came out and they were posted on social media. It is interesting how people can get very creative about the situation that they are in, I specifically liked the second picture as I found it very appealing because it definitely relates very much so for the “umbrella revolution.”

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