Interacting for peace: Rethinking peace through interactive digital platforms

Katz, Y. (2020). Interacting for peace: Rethinking peace through interactive digital platforms. Social Media + Society, 6(2), 205630512092662.


Open access: Yes

Notes: In this article, Katz discusses how digital platforms can and do contribute to peacebuilding. While not explicitly focused on social media (instead, focused on interactive platforms as widely defined), this article describes productive ways in which media supports peace—through play, exploration, education, or participation. Additionally, Katz introduces the reading of time—mediated by digital technologies—as an ontological, epistemological and ethical approach to peace.

Quote: “Even if these companies are mainly motivated by commercial interests, they raise awareness of violent conflicts mostly neglected by the news media. Alongside other platforms, they come up with creative ways to make visitors care about peace and make it a part of their concerns (Scannell, 2014) through special moments of engagement with unfamiliar stories or data. They construct peace as an act of communication. Although these are, for the most part, very small platforms with very little traffic, I believe that in these forgotten corners of digital culture, researchers and practitioners can find new ways to think about how peace can be made relevant to the everyday lives of people.” (p. 9)

Abstract: Peace is often studied as a lull in war or as a way to make war inconceivable. In this study, I explore the ability of digital culture to promote a new understanding of peace as a communication concept. Specifically, I analyze small digital platforms devoted to making people care about peace by encouraging them to play, explore, listen, or participate in a variety of activities. Since war is centered around the occupation of spaces and places, I use time and temporality as a theoretical framework for understanding how these interactive digital platforms construct peace in a way that is meaningful to people. In this investigation of a popular meaning of peace, I argue that the epistemology of peace offers a promise for a better future while its ethics is a commitment to remembering the past. The ontology of peace is a lived experience found in daily practices in the present.

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