On the Fate of Protests: Dynamics of Social Activation and Topic Selection Online and in the Streets

Faculty/Professorship: Political Theory  
Author(s): Asgharpourmasouleh, Ahmadreza; Fattahzadeh, Masoud; Mayerhoffer, Daniel  ; Lorenz, Jan
Title of the compilation: Computational Conflict Research
Editors: Deutschmann, Emanuel; Lorenz, Jan; Nardin, Luis G.; Natalini, Davide; Wilhelm, Adalbert F. X.
Publisher Information: Cham : Springer
Year of publication: 2020
Pages: 141-164
ISBN: 978-3-030-29332-1
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29333-8_7
This chapter studies individual and network conditions for the emergence of large social protests in an agent-based model. We use two recent examples from Iran and Germany to inform the modeling process. In our agent-based model, people, who are interconnected in networks, interact and exchange their concerns on a finite number of topics. They may start to protest either because of their concern or because the fraction of protesters in their social contacts exceeds their protest threshold. In contrast to many other models of social protest, we also study the coevolution of topics of concern in the not (yet) protesting public. Given that often a small number of citizens starts a protest, its fate depends not only on the dynamics of social activation but also on the buildup of concern with respect to competing topics. Nowadays, this buildup happens decentralized through social media. The model reproduces characteristic patterns of the evolution of the two empirical cases of social protests in Iran and Germany. In particular, our results show that positions of agents with certain concern levels on certain topics within the networks are important for the fate of protests.
GND Keywords: Politischer Protest ; Politische Mobilisierung ; Social Media ; Mehragentensystem
Keywords: Opinion dynamics, Social protest, Social media, Social network
DDC Classification: 320 Political Science  
RVK Classification: MD 8420   
Type: Contribution to an Articlecollection
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/47523
Release Date: 12. March 2020