Observing Protest: Media Use and Student Involvement on April 7, 2010 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Central Asian Survey 34(3): 373-389
34 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2015 Last revised: 2 Sep 2016
Date Written: December 16, 2015
Individuals in and around protests are generally classified as either participants or nonparticipants. However, observers witnessing protests can also play an important role in collective actions by sharing their experiences. This paper explores the characteristics of observers during the April 7, 2010 demonstrations in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Based on data collected via a survey of university students, I demonstrate that protest observers differed from nonparticipants on a range of variables. A key factor differentiating student observers from nonparticipants was their online activity prior to the protests. Logistic regression modeling shows that students with higher rates of online activity were significantly and substantially more likely to be protest observers than nonparticipants. These findings provide empirical evidence for categorizing observation as a distinct level of protest participation, shed light on demonstration involvement in Bishkek on April 7, 2010, and suggest that examining online activity can contribute to a better understanding of protest involvement levels.
Keywords: Protest participation, Internet activity, observers, April 7 2010, Bishkek
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