Self-Organized Social Solidarity (SoSS) Initiatives in Greece: Exploring Their Scope and Their Relationship to Online Media

Self-Organized Social Solidarity (SoSS) Initiatives in Greece: Exploring Their Scope and Their Relationship to Online Media

Eleni-Revekka Staiou (Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece) and Dimitris Gouscos (Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/ijpada.2014100102

Abstract

Since the beginning of the economic crisis in Greece, the first impacts were felt on standards of everyday living. Citizens, frustrated by the state's handling of the crisis, felt the urge to self-organize and take action based on their own strengths and volunteerism as the only practical solution to fill in the gaps left by the state's absence of intervention. Rooted in the country's economic crisis, Greek citizens' self-organized social solidarity (SoSS) initiatives have been focused on acting and innovating rather than protesting and are now rapidly growing. Examples of such initiatives are social grocery stores, alternative currencies, time banks, neighborhood groups for sanitation and general caretaking, assistance to students in primary/secondary education to name a few. This article has two main objectives. The first is to present self-organized social solidarity initiatives in Greece and further attempt to characterize them based on certain features, such as their scope and mode of operation. The second objective is to investigate how these initiatives use the internet and online media, with an emphasis on social media for communicating, coordinating and further developing such activities.
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Many different types of organizations can be found in civil society that are likely to differ considerably from one another in terms of the ways they use information technology and arrange their internal structure and organizational relations. Some well-known (Saeed et al, 2008) such types of organizations include community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), activist groups, think tanks, cultural groups as well as informal citizens organizations and cooperatives.

In recent years, the number of these organizations is constantly growing due to the fact that the problems which societies and citizens face are also growing at a fast pace. At the same time, information technology advancements offer a multitude of new possibilities for organizing and communicating that until a few years ago were not available at all, or at least not for lay people with no specialized technical knowledge.

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