I Can’t Breathe: How Digital Video Becomes an Emancipatory Technology Conference Paper uri icon


  • This grounded theory study explores how bystander digital video distributed via social media documents perceived injustice and serves as an emancipatory technology. Using 30 examples, the study provides insight into how bystander videos impact perceived social injustice with potential visual evidence and how bystander videos ultimately shape larger social movements. We find that potential evidentiary video events break down into eight theoretical areas: instigation, target, place, perceived injustice, tools, witness, potential evidence, and outcomes. We find that while bystander video spread through social media can indeed serve as an emancipatory technology with substantial positive outcomes, care must be taken to avoid oversaturation that could result in desensitization and lower efficacy.

author list (cited authors)

  • George, J., George, T., & Moquin, R.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM