Will the Revolution be Tweeted? Information & Communication Technology and Conflict



Navid Hassanpour, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance (NCGG)

Date and Time

January 29, 2015 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM



School of Education 

Room 128

Is communication technology conducive to collective violence? Recent studies have provided conflicting answers to the same question. While some see the introduction of cellular communication as a contributing factor to civil conflict in Africa (Pierskalla and Hollenbach APSR 2013), others ascribe an opposite effect to mobile communications in Iraq (Shapiro and Weidmann IO forthcoming). During the talk, I will further explore the logic behind "Why the revolution will not be tweeted", and argue that the answer lies in contagion processes of collective action at the periphery, not the hierarchical schemes of central coordination as was argued before. To provide evidence, I will draw on historical accounts of social revolutions, a GIS study of the Syrian Civil War, a convenience survey sample from the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, as well as network experiments of collective risk-taking in a controlled setting.

Speaker Bio

Navid Hassanpour (Ph.D.s in Political Science from Yale'14, and Electrical Engineering from Stanford'06) studies political contestation, in its contentious and electoral forms. Following an inquiry into collective and relational dimensions of contentious politics, currently he is working on a project that examines the history, emergence, and the dynamics of representative democracy outside the Western World. This year he is a Niehaus postdoctoral fellow at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of public and International Affairs. His work has appeared in Political Communication as well as IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. His book project, Leading from the Periphery, is under consideration at Cambridge University Press' Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences Series.

This event is part of the Liberation Technology Seminar Series

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