What is the Role of Social Media in Establishing a Chain of Equivalence between Activists Participating in Protest Movements?

Wei Ling Nien 1 *

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Abstract

This paper explores the role of social media in establishing achain of equivalence between activists participating in protest movements.Applying Diani’s network approach as the theoretical framework and introducing the concept of Laclau and Mouffe (1985) ‘the chain of equivalence’ in social movement studies.It is a discursive formationonhow each chain isdifferent andhow the chains work together to oppose hegemony (common enemyi.e. the state, authority or stakeholder).This project consists of 9 interviews with a chronic interest in participating in protests movements in Taiwan. The method is applied together with social network analysis to draw a graph to depict the overlapping concept provided by the activist’s map. By combiningthe two methods together, the researcher is able to reach a better understanding of the wayactivists build theirnetwork.The result shows thatthe importance of social media is when building network connections between activists, through building the chain of equivalence, protest movements can easily work together online and offline become allian to opposed the common enemy.The links are able to constitute outside for information to spread over. Through social network links they are able to establish ‘the chain of equivalence’ in protest movements.While social media plays a vital role in protest movements, the network tiesbetween activists should also betaken into account.

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

https://doi.org/10.29333/ojcmt/2606

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp. 182-215

Published Online: 26 Jul 2017

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