Greek Civil Society’s Online Alternative Networks as Emergent Resilience Strategies in Time of Crisis

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Abstract

The use of new communications technologies and social media, in Greece, during the time of crisis, has led to the development of numerous online informal Civil Society Networks (CSNs) (i.e. networking-building platforms, self - organized groups in Facebook, forums, exchange platforms) proposing a rethinking of the status quo of formal civil organizations. This research, utilizing the methodology of discourse analysis, aims at summarizing the rise of these networks in Greece that incorporates both solidarity initiatives and autonomous political/economic spaces and identify the indicative predictive factors of their survival and growth. Some basic conclusions that have been drawn through this research is that alternative online networks can be proven as indicative sign of the social dynamism of a given period but in order to be resilient and sustainable they should develop focal points of physical reference, pursue national representation, focus mainly on monothematic goods/services and cultivate, in several cases, links with relevant social movements and local or national NGOs. A general induction through this research is that a CSN, during this current crisis, stands between two classical models of reference in a society seeking modernity and flexibility and can be considered as a proposed type of effective experimentation and mobilization that can pursue common social goals and serve needs of deprived people. Some issues that still remain underexplored and need further elaboration are social and political identity of participants, the potential links with local, national and international communities, the functional balance between structure and flexibility as well as the efficient distribution of energy between solidarity and protest.

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