Sydney’s own Coalition Of The Willing

This week’s topic of social organisation was especially all the more interesting for me given my attendance at TEDxSydney just this past Saturday. One of the key highlights – and indeed, a (highly-successful and delicious) feat in itself given the 2,200+ audience members in attendance and the 250+ TEDxSydney growers who generously contributed their home-grown produce – was Grow It Local‘s crowd-farming initiative. Literally getting a taste of how dynamic social organisation could occur through the creation and management of micropolitics and networks and the participation/collaboration of those belonging to the new communities arising from said-networks, it wasn’t hard to visualise the possibilities of hyperlocal social organisation for issues and causes other than to promote urban farming.

The unreal coming-together of the local Sydney community with a unified cause to decrease food wastage and promote growing fresh produce was largely indebted to their utilisation of their Facebook page and other new networking-capable media such as TEDxSydney’s Twitter to engage an interested audience, and then collectively bring them together to create a society. In bypassing any authoritative figures such as the local Councils (though Waverley Council did later support the cause and the City of Sydney Council also jumped on board promoting GIL with some location-specific, 3D ads), Grow It Local created Sydney’s own Coalition Of The Willing; a group of everyday enthusiasts and believers who actively sought to together change public perception about an issue they cared about, and hence became a micropolitic power of its own.

This is what I think Terranova (2004, p.101) means when she says that “to animate machines, …is not to ‘bring’ life to a machine; rather it is to organise a population of machines in such a way that their interactive dynamics is ‘alive'”; that social organisation can be ‘animated’ when communicative mediums – whether they be Twitter or Facebook –  become a two-way source of dialogue so that they can interact with, amongst and even perhaps against each other to shape themselves collectively into this morph of the network society. It makes sense then that Manning (2009, p.138) states that “the body emerges not fully formed but in relation to an associated milieu that is itself a body-becoming”; the inherent dynamics of social organisation means that it is bound to be transversal, always reflecting and absorbing each other’s presence to morph into a living organism.

Further reflecting on Terranova’s (2004, p.105) argument that “a transversely-connected multitude is quite alien to the logic of mass societies, in as much as the solidity and boundedness of the mass tend towards… an increasing homogenisation, while a multitude tends to engender, multiply and spread mutations”, I think it will be fascinating to research and gain a deeper insight into just how much the transversal nature of Twitter can impact and shape the ‘effectiveness’, or flow, of a child rights advocacy campaign as described in my research proposal. I hope that this week’s lecture will generate some ideas on how to effectively draw a logical conclusion out of such a dynamic medium and network as well as some research methods I may wish to further incorporate into my project.

References

Campaign Brief 2013, ‘The City of Sydney and Grow It Local bring vegie patches to the streets via Republic of Everyone’, Campaign Brief, April 18, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.campaignbrief.com/2013/04/the-city-of-sydney-and-grow-it.html>

Grow It Local 2013, About Grow It Local, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.growitlocal.com.au/about.aspx>

Grow It Local Facebook 2013, Grow It Local, accessed 5 May 2013, <https://www.facebook.com/GrowItLocal>

Manning, E. 2009, ‘From Biopolitics to the Biogram, or How Leni Riefenstahl Moves through Fascism’, in Relationscapes, The MIT Press, Cambridge, M.A., pp. 137 – 139

Terranova, T. 2004, ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age, Pluto, London, UK, pp. 101 – 106

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