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The web and violent social protest: A case study of the ''Greek Decemberists''

Vasiliki (Vicky) Triga
Cyprus University of Technology
Vasiliki (Vicky) Triga
Cyprus University of Technology
Open Panel

Abstract

The Internet has initiated major changes at various levels of social life and collective action is one of them. Studies of the new Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and new social movements have pointed to some of their characteristics, such as communication through cost-effective mechanisms, mobilisation of actors, organisation of large-scale protests and manifestations, provision of innovative opportunity structures, simple organisational forms and, finally, the formation of social identities. On the occasion of the youth revolt in Greece in December 2008, after the murder of a young pupil by a policeman, a massive mobilisation among youngsters took place on the web which resulted in the organisation of demonstrations and protests in every big city in Greece. Blogs and social networking websites, such as facebook played a crucial role not only during the organisation of the protests but also in subsequently sustaining the movement. In this paper we undertake a study of the Greek facebook groups created and maintained due to the so-called youth ''December revolt. The qualitative analysis of these groups has a threefold objective: a) to explore their ideological underpinnings through a qualitative content analysis of their descriptions, b) to investigate the proposed forms of protest and c) their sustainability, which refers to the duration and continuation of members'' activities. The results illustrate the increased importance that the Internet has acquired in recent forms of social action but it also highlights that the current constellation of powers remains unchanged.