1st Edition

Digital Activism in Zimbabwe Dissent and Hegemony in the Information Age

By Tenford Chitanana Copyright 2025
    286 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the role of the internet and social media in political processes in non-western and non-democratic contexts. Using Zimbabwe as a case study, the book demonstrates how activists and ordinary people deploy social media, particularly Facebook, to subvert an enduring hegemonic state. However, the book also highlights how authoritarian regimes are in turn learning and adapting to the information age, challenging the impact of digital activism. Studies of digital activism in the Global South are often centred around democracy, but this book paints a more complex picture, examining the role and effect of digital activism in challenging state hegemony in authoritarian contexts. The book notes that while communication technologies help mediate activism, they are also simultaneously constrained by pre-existing and emergent challenges tied to the social and political context and the inherent limitations of those technologies. The book investigates the tactics used by digital activists, the contextual factors and restrictive political environment they operate in, including the role of pro-government activists, and ultimately, the impact of digital activism given these constraints. From the case of Zimbabwe, the book builds out a broader theoretical analysis of the evolution of ‘third world protest’ in the digital age, examining the limitations of activists’ actions and the ideological deficit in online activism to ferment a virulent counter hegemony.

    1. The Information Age and Activism in Non-Democratic Contexts 

    2. Communication Technologies, Deliberative Democracy and Change 

    3. Communication, Power, and Politics 

    4. Repression, Media, and Dissent 

    5. Continuities in Media and Activism 

    6. Trajectories and Repertoires of Digital Activism 

    7. Inherent and Structural Limitations, Communication Technologies in Context  

    8. Contradictions in Subaltern Organising and Digital Activism 

    9. The Mundane is Political in Everyday Forms of Activism 

    10. Dissent and Hegemony in the Information Age


    Tenford Chitanana is an Independent International Communications Consultant and Communications Specialist at Rana Labs, Kampala, Uganda. He completed his PhD at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Chitanana’s research and practice explore the dynamics of power, agency and contestations at the intersection of communication technologies, civil society, and politics.