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Sasha ·Costanza-Chock··Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania·USA
Mapping the Repertoire of Electronic Contention
There is a growing body of work on social movements that enthusiastically describes the importance of the internet to transnational mobilization. This paper develops a framework for more careful analysis of online activism by drawing from recent social movement theories about repertoires and outcomes. It first describes various tactics of electronic contention and an attempt is then made to distinguish between conventional, disruptive, and violent strategies. Two case studies of disruptive electronic contention, the Virtual Sit-In for a Living Wage @ Harvard and the Netstrike for Vieques, are briefly laid out in order to illustrate the usefulness of locating electronic actions within a tactic/outcome matrix. They are also used to show how changing political opportunity structures and differing levels of repression affect the diffusion of contentious electronic tactics between social movement organizations and other actors.