Impact of ICTs on Repressive Regimes
February 15th, 2009

Patrick Meier of Tufts University shares with Smartmobs readers his dissertation ‘The Impact of the Information Revolution on Authoritarian Rule and Social Resistance: From Information Revolution to iRevolution?

Patrick writes Smartmobs: The question driving my dissertation research is whether digital resistance poses a threat to authoritarian rule? In other words, are the tactics associated with nonviolent civilian resistance movements greatly enhanced by access to modern information communication technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones and the Web? Or are repressive regimes becoming increasingly savvy in their ability to regulate the impact of the information revolution within their borders?

One way to answer this question is to test whether the diffusion of information communication technology measured by increasing numbers of Internet and mobile phone users is a statistically significant predictor of anti-government protests after controlling for other causes of protests.

The results of Meier’s research may suggest that the information revolution empowers civil resistance movements at the expense of repressive regimes in countries with relatively high levels of access to technology. On the other hand, repressive regimes appear to maintain the upper hand in countries with low levels of protest. Preliminary findings available here

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