Dynamics of Mobilization in Political Networks

Posted: 8 Jan 2013 Last revised: 24 Jul 2017

See all articles by Navid Mehrdad

Navid Mehrdad

Columbia University

Ji Liu

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sekhar Tatikonda

Yale University

Date Written: November 20, 2012


In times of normalcy, common knowledge of affairs shapes a culture of predictability that is indispensable to political order. During volatile times, as the legitimacy and efficiency of public information disappear, political mobilization is often constrained by limitations of local interaction networks. Learning processes shape the dynamics of diffusion initiated by a radical minority. Social media, in particular, provide long bridges that traverse across the confines of spatial mobilization. The utility of such long ties for mobilization has been a matter of debate. To examine this question, we propose a dynamic stylization of mobilization in political networks, find the steady states of observational and communicative learning dynamics in several canonical network structures and show that sustainable action-cores and radius of diffusion both are highly dependent upon network structure. Most importantly, the existence of long local bridges, often provided via electronic media, can eradicate action-cores and decrease radius of diffusion.

Keywords: Cascade, Collective action, Diffusion, Learning, Mobilization, Network Structure

Suggested Citation

Mehrdad, Navid and Liu, Ji and Tatikonda, Sekhar, Dynamics of Mobilization in Political Networks (November 20, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2197480

Navid Mehrdad (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

New York, NY NY 10027
United States

Ji Liu

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL Champaign 61820
United States

Sekhar Tatikonda

Yale University ( email )

493 College St
New Haven, CT CT 06520
United States

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