The Impact of Social Networks on Protest Activities (the Case of Armenia)


Atanesyan A.V.

Dr. Sci. (Pol.), Prof., Head of Applied Sociology Department, Faculty of Sociology, Yerevan State University, Armenia atanesyan@yandex.ru

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250004280-1
ID of the Article: 7576


For citation:

Atanesyan A.V. The Impact of Social Networks on Protest Activities (the Case of Armenia). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 3. P. 73-84




Abstract

The role of virtual social networks in the modern political processes is analyzed in the paper. Partly contradicting approaches to the issue are reviewed, as well as some cases of the role of Social Network Cites (SNC) in the mass political protests of the first decade of the XXI century are discussed, including those on the post-soviet space and in the Arab world. The study of perceptions of Armenian Facebook users concerning the role of SNC in the mass protests in April-May 2018 in Armenia is presented. The study was conducted via mass survey with 462 Armenian Facebook users in September 2018 by means of semi-structured questionnaire designed and disseminated on the online platform of SurveyMonkey Enterprise. Among the results, the actual issues which Armenian Facebook users and protesters underline as main reasons of their protest activities are rated, including high level of corruption, criminal-clan structure of the previous ruling elites and low effectiveness of governance, as well as monopoly in economic field, while the active influence of SNC on the users was not among the reasons to protest. It is demonstrated that for an essential quantity of users their entirely virtual communicative activity during the protests is the as “real” as real participation in the protests. Hypothesis about decisive role of SNC in accumulation, popularization and synchronization of the mass protest activities is confirmed.


Keywords
Social Network Cites (SNC); mass political protests in Armenia in Spring 2018; Facebook; social capital; perceptions; political participation

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Content No 3, 2019