ICTs and Social Movements in Authoritarian: An Actor-Network Perspective

UoM administered thesis: Master's Thesis


The purpose of this dissertation is to explore what insights Actor-Network Theory can offer in understanding the roles that ICTs play in the development of social movement network in authoritarian regimes, and whether this approach has any fresh perspectives for wider ICTs and social movement studies. We specifically focus on two aspects of Actor-Network Theory to analyse our case study of the Iranian re-election protests in 2009: firstly, we introduce the notion of hybrid, heterogeneous network as our worldview, and secondly, the moments of translation as our analytical framework.

We conclude that Actor-Network Theory enables us to see ICTs as deeply embedded in the dynamics of social movements, playing an active role to shape, interact with, enable and even dissolve the movement. Furthermore, by adopting the moments of translation, we can provide a rich description of the complex processes behind the development of social movement networks from a socio-technical point of view, highlighting the ways in which activists engage and negotiate with both human and non-human actors to develop the network of movement.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Institute of Development Policy and Management
Award date2012