You've Got Protest: The Effectiveness of the Internet As an Implement of Student Protest Movements

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Mobley, Kayce
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Department of Political Science , University of the South , Sewanee, Tennessee , Student protests , Social movements , Internet , Political theory , Social movement theory
Over the last decade, the use of the Internet has exploded worldwide. Consumers have discovered and developed innumerable uses for this innovation, and so it has affected economies greatly. Furthermore, because of its transnational nature, this system has sped the process of globalization. Because of its pervasiveness, though, the Internet has not remained only a tool for commerce, entertainment, or research. Instead, it has begun to seep into political processes as well. One aspect of this spread is the adoption of the Internet by student protest movements worldwide to further their causes through both internal (e.g., organizational) and external (e.g. reporting) uses. This appropriation of the new technology by student protesters is perhaps advantageous because of its relatively low cost, generally a requirement for students, and overall the Internet has proven very useful for protest movements. However, the relative effectiveness of the Internet for student social movements is tied directly to the type of regime of the movement’s host country. A review of the relevant existing body of literature an analysis of four case studies, ranging from 2005-2009, will further this argument.