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Environmental cyberactivism in Serbia: A case study of the facebook group "Protect the Rivers of Stara planina"
This paper presents the digital ethnography of the Facebook group „Protect the Rivers of Stara Planina“, established in 2017 by local activists and with over 60,000 members today. Primarily an informal environmental grassroots movement against the construction of small hydropower plants in Serbia, with the help of social networks it has surpassed local level and become a wider environmental movement on a national level. Research of this group provides a deeper insight into the role new media technologies have in the shaping of new social movements (in terms of accessing, using, creating and disseminating information and as a platform for mobilization through social networks), and understanding of the evolution of new social movements (in this case from the local community to the Internet and back to the streets) – understanding how online and offline forms of engagement are mutually constitutive. This Facebook group is not only a place for mobilization and collective action of its members but also a place of creativity and solidarity. The focus of this paper is the analysis of online interactions and cultural practices of its members, their rhetorical strategies and various expressive materials they create and share. The content of the FB group, i.e. the communicative genres that are being created, posted and transmitted (posts, short clips, poems, photos, memes, image macros made by members) are examples of vernacular creativity, or in other words, the digital folklore of this environmental cyber community.