Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2246663
 
 

References (39)



 


 



Online Social Networks and Bottom-Up Politics


Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon


University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication

April 8, 2013

Forthcoming in Dutton, W.H. and Graham, M. (eds) Society and the Internet: How Information and Social Networks are Changing our Lives, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Abstract:     
It is a common assumption that digital technologies have helped turn political engagement into a more decentralized process. Examples often cited include the 2011 global wave of political protests; the actions of the hacktivist group Anonymous; or the free culture movement born to promote the freedom to distribute content online. Examples more remote in the history of digital technologies include the anti-globalization movement (emerged in the late eighties) and the emancipatory struggles of minorities like the indigenous Zapatistas in Mexico - in both cases, the protests attained global visibility through the use of email distribution lists and alternative media sites like Indymedia. What all these examples have in common is that the actors involved used digital technologies to coordinate their actions, and targeted online networks with their messages to reach larger audiences and involve more participants. Internet technologies allowed protesters to organize in a decentralized way, that is, without a central authority processing local information or overseeing strategies from above. This form of organization creates more flexible forms of collective action and it has radically changed the way in which grassroots politics operate. This paper explains why by examining the network mechanisms that are involved in this new form of organization.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

Keywords: new media, grassroots politics, collective action

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Date posted: April 9, 2013 ; Last revised: August 15, 2013

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez-Bailon, Sandra, Online Social Networks and Bottom-Up Politics (April 8, 2013). Forthcoming in Dutton, W.H. and Graham, M. (eds) Society and the Internet: How Information and Social Networks are Changing our Lives, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2246663 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2246663

Contact Information

Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )
Philadelphia, PA
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.asc.upenn.edu/sgonzalezbailon/
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