Accepted paper:

Digital culture as a response to violence and an instrument of social transformation: the case of Medellín, Colombia


Theresa Bean (University of Leeds)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines formal and community digital initiatives in Medellin, Colombia. It focuses on how communities suffering from the effects of violence have utilized technology to prevent violence and map human rights. It explores the use of digital by the state as a tool of social transformation.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past 10 years, Medellin has been transformed by the Integrated Urban Project with the promotion of digital culture as a key feature

This paper will explore the convergence between formal and community digital culture. It will examine the Medellín Ciudad Inteligente strategy arguing that formal digital policy is a vehicle for the promotion of social and economic prosperity and a means of rebuilding relations between the state and civic society.

Digital culture has emerged in the barrios of Medellín as a response to the legacy and continuing violence. The paper will examine the work of Ciudad Comuna, a community media organization in Medellin. The organization uses digital technology as a means of violence prevention, to challenge mainstream media reports in the community and to monitor and raise awareness of human rights abuses. The organization provides an interesting example of the appropriation of digital culture in marginalised community suffering from the effects of violence and displacement.

In exploring formal and community digital culture in Medellín, the paper will conclude that there is an uncomfortable nexus between the two. Digital policy has been advanced as a means of promoting social well-being and economic prosperity. Notwithstanding the appropriation of technology by the community as a response to the effects of violence serves as an awkward reminder that the state is failing to fulfill its role of uphold law and order and justice

panel P28
Latin American digital culture