This book examines the causes of a growing wave of digital activism across developing countries, arguing that it is driven by social change, rather than technological advancement alone. Beginning with an investigation into the modernization of ‘middle-income countries’ and its ramifications for political culture, the book examines large-scale social media protest during political controversies in Indonesia.
The book connects empirical evidence to classic theories of value change and political behaviour. It departs from a narrow ‘digital divide’ framing whereby Internet access produces Internet activism. It introduces the concepts of ‘digital self-expression’ and of ‘middle-class struggles’ to capture the value-stratified nature of political engagement in the online sphere. Drawing on a blend of ‘big-data’ text analyses, representative opinion research, and socioeconomic household analyses, a rich picture of the determinants of digital activism emerges.
This truly cross-disciplinary book will appeal particularly to students and scholars in Political Science, Sociology, International Development, and Communication, but also to anyone eager to learn about political activism, social transformation, and new media from a global perspective.
Table of Contents
List of Figures, List of Tables, Acknowledgements, Abbreviations and Acronyms, 1. Introduction, 2. The Mobile Middle: Rise of an Aspiring Class, 3. From Traditional Values to Digital Self-Expression, 4. Socioeconomic Origins of Digital Activism, 5. From Twitter Fame to Public Shame: How a Social Media Storm Saved Indonesia’s
Democracy, 6. Clash of the Hashtags: Post-/Materialist Partisanship in Social Media, 7. Digital Activism between Precarity and Prosperity, 8. Generation Hashtag: Middle-Class Struggles in the Digital Sphere, Annex, Index
Lukas Schlogl is a social scientist at the University of Vienna, Austria. His research focuses on the politics of technological change.
Finally, a book that demonstrates the importance of deep-seated social change for the emergence of digital activism. Rather than asking for the power of platforms, the author demonstrates the role of long-term socio-economic upward mobility for political activism in Indonesia. The book is an essential reading for everyone interested in digital activism and civic engagement beyond platform power.
Anne Kaun, Professor in Media and Communication Studies, Södertörn University