Social Media and Civil Society in the Russian Protests, December 2011: The role of social media in engagement of people in the protests and their self-identification with civil society
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The study examines the phenomenon of the December protests in Russia when thousands of citizens were involved in the protest movement after the frauds during the Parliamentary elections. There was a popular opinion in the Internet media that at that moment Russia experienced establishment of civil society, since so many people were ready to express their discontent publically for the first time in 20 years.
The focus of this study is made on the analysis of the roles that social media played in the protest movement. As it could be observed at the first glance, recruiting and mobilising individuals to participation in the rallies were mainly conducted via social media. The research analyses the concept of civil society and its relevance to the protest rhetoric and investigates, whether there was a phenomenon of civil society indeed and how it was connected to individuals’ motivation for joining the protest.
The concept of civil society is discussed through the social capital, social and political trust, e-democracy and mediatisation frameworks. The study provides a comprehensive description of the events, based on mainstream and new media sources, in order to depict the nature and the development of the movement. The structure of the protests is analysed through the new social movement theory. Also, various approaches to engagement of people in the social movements are presentedl, including political marketing framework.
The research was conducted in several main stages, using content analysis, survey and interviewing as main methods. The main conclusions of the study: relatively minor impact of social media in the engagement of people in the protest, a narrow section of the population as the audience of social media protesters (for them civil society mostly played a role of a customer need), and yet a significant potential of ICT in the future political life of the country.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 216 p.
Russia, social media, political mobilization, democracy, public sphere, social capital, new social movements, e-democracy, political marketing, digital divide
Media and Communications
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209325OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-209325DiVA: diva2:656702
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Simons, Gregory, Dr.