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  • Author or Editor: Taulant Guma x
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This chapter examines the challenges and opportunities for local civil society posed by digital technologies, especially social media. Drawing upon case studies of local civil society groups in three localities in Wales – Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea – they explored the dynamics of reconfiguration of local civil society and how the new digital technologies have created a new universal space of social consciousness, identity, belonging and collective action. These are underpinned by a growth in global consciousness and values, mediated by transnational institutions and NGOs. A key issue is whether this presents an existential threat to local civil society, with the global and the local pitted against each other in a zero-sum game, or whether more sophisticated processes are at work. The analysis showed that the social dynamics and civil society structures in the three case study localities have evolved with the deepening of globalisation and other socio-economic changes. The chapter discusses how digital technologies have had both positive and negative impacts. For example, digital technologies afford opportunities to rebuild local community identities through hyper-local platforms, providing new ways of connecting neighbours and new vehicles for civil society action.

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This chapter highlights turbulence and uncertainty in relation to contemporary patterns and processes of migration. This has been driven by a variety of causes including the international rise of populism and Brexit. Many EU citizens have been targeted in xenoracist incidents. A review of the academic and policy literature underlines how many accounts take an integrationist view of migrants’ participation in the UK. This presents them as passive and requiring support, rather than as being resourceful agents and civil society makers. The interview data discussed in this chapter reveal how the Brexit referendum result made many feel that they no longer belonged or were wanted. In turn, migrants’ experience of hostility and discrimination prompted some to be proactive, setting up and running new civil society initiatives to tackle dominant negative discourses of migrants in the UK. A further core finding is that volunteering and participation in civil society functions as an anchoring practice, helping individuals bond with their communities, both in terms of people and places. The analysis also reveals a major civic participation gap between migrants and non-migrants.

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