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A comparative cyberconflict analysis of digital activism across post-Soviet countries

Karatzogianni, Athina, Miazhevich, Galina and Denisova, Anastasia 2017. A comparative cyberconflict analysis of digital activism across post-Soviet countries. Comparative Sociology 16 (1) , pp. 102-126. 10.1163/15691330-12341415

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This article analyses digital activism comparatively in relation to three Post-Soviet regions: Russian/anti-Russian in Crimea and online political deliberation in Belarus, in juxtaposition to Estonia’s digital governance approach. The authors show that in civil societies in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, cultural forms of digital activism, such as internet memes, thrive and produce and reproduce effective forms of political deliberation. In contrast to Estonia, in authoritarian regimes actual massive mobilization and protest is forbidden, or is severely punished with activists imprisoned, persecuted or murdered by the state. This is consistent with use of cultural forms of digital activism in countries where protest is illegal and political deliberation is restricted in government-controlled or oligarchic media. Humorous political commentary might be tolerated online to avoid mobilization and decompress dissent and resistance, yet remaining strictly within censorship and surveillance apparatuses. The authors’ research affirms the potential of internet memes in addressing apolitical crowds, infiltrating casual conversations and providing symbolic manifestation to resistant debates. Yet, the virtuality of the protest undermines its consistency and impact on offline political deliberation. Without knowing each other beyond social media, the participants are unlikely to form robust organisational structures and mobilise for activism offline.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crimea; resistance; Belarus; comparative digital activism; internet memes; digital governance; Estonia; Russia
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
ISSN: 1569-1322
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 May 2018
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2019 11:27

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