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Sharone Daniel

Last updated March 31, 2013 - 12:50pm by Mark A. McCutcheon

Sharone Daniel, MA-IS student, Athabasca U

“The Influence of Social Networks, Relationship-ties, and Identity on Participation in Internetworked Social Movements” 

Abstract: Digital activism has become, if not an effective, most certainly a widely participated in activity for citizens concerned with everything from corruption to the protection of the earth's few remaining rainforests. During last year's Arab Spring, a study done by the Dubai School of Government stated that in March of 2011 nearly 9 out of 10 Egyptians and Tunisians surveyed stated that they were using “Facebook to organise protests or spread awareness about them”(Huang, 2011, para 1). Given the widespread practice, and potential power, of digital activism, I believe understanding its complexities is a vital task.

Numerous studies have shown that the networks that persons are embedded in, and the way they self identify, are critical factors in determining whether or not, and how much, they participate in social movements (Passy, 2003, p. 23-24, McAdam and Paulsen, 1993, p. 656). My research thus seeks to understand how the social networks of digital activists affect their participation, what role identity plays in the process, and whether or not digital activists' networks are similar to those of offline activists. My research methodology involves interviews with fifteen members of an online Brazilian group engaged in the movement to protect the Amazon Forest.