Political revolution and social communication technologies
Kent, Matthew P.
Lee, Yong J.
Warren, T. Camber
Weiner, Robert J.
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The relatively recent advent of cell phones provides an increasing portion of the world's population with hitherto unprecedented access to information, and offers a novel means of networking and communicating within and across societies. Since cell phones have been utilized in collective action events such as the Arab Spring, this thesis seeks to determine their role, if any, in events that lead to political revolution. Using non-linear logistic regression techniques, this study assesses the relationship between cell phone use and political revolutions, both democratic and autocratic, from 1980 to 2015. The results of the study indicate that there is a strong negative relationship between cell phone use and democratic political revolution, suggesting that higher levels of cell phone use actually reduce the probability of democratic political revolution, and may bolster existing autocracies. We speculate that this may result from governments' ability to use cell phones and social communication technologies for population control and suppression; furthermore, the horizontal and decentralized nature of communications enabled by cell phones may create amorphous organizations that have difficulty effecting government change.
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