Explosive Connections? Mass Media, Social Media, and the Geography of Collective Violence in African States
Warren, T. Camber
MetadataShow full item record
Growing evidence indicates that the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can substantially alter the contours of collective violence in developing nations. However, empirical investigations of such effects have generally been hampered by an inability to systematically measure geographic variation in ICT penetration, across multiple technologies and multiple countries. In this paper, I show that geo-referenced household surveys can be used to estimate sub-national differences in the spatial reach of radio and cellular communications infrastructures in 24 African states. By combining these estimates with geo-referenced measures of the location of disaggregated events of collective violence, I show that there are important differences between centralized ‘mass’ communication technologies – such as radios – that foster vertical linkages between state and society, and decentralized ‘social’ communication technologies – such as cell phones – that foster horizontal linkages between the members of a society. The evidence demonstrates that the geographic reach of mass media penetration generates substantial pacifying effects, while the reach of social media penetration generates substantial increases in collective violence, especially in areas lacking access to mass media infrastructure. I argue that these findings are consistent with a theory of ICT effects which focuses on the strengthening and weakening of economies of scale in the marketplace of ideas.
Includes article and Replication Files (supplementary material)
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Welch, Edward (Monterey California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2013-03);Gun violence in America must be addressed at the highest levels of society. Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech were attacks on the very fabric of America. School shootings represent attacks on our nations future. A public ...
Eichelberger, Clinton W. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2009-09);Violence: the word itself has a distinctly negative connotation. It seems as though our entire society is fixated on preventing violence. Despite our keen desires to repel violence in all of its forms, we are still enthralled ...
Gardner, Simon C. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2000-12);Much of the violence in Eurasia since the break-up of the Soviet Union has been blamed purely on radical Islamic fundamentalism. This characterization is at best simplistic and at worst dangerously insufficient. Not ...