Academic Articles

Use this page to find selected peer-reviewed articles on topics in Global Informatics. Articles are organized into these categories:


Atkinson and Berg (2012). Narrow mobilization and Tea Party activism. Communication Studies.

Summary: Describes how Tea Party Activism can best be described as narrow mobilization, which constructs very focused protest communities. Illustrates how Tea Party activists have utilized social media to build worldviews concerning power relations, to construct strategies for resistance against such power, and to coordinate with other organizations.

Caren, N. & Gaby, S. (2011). Occupy online: Facebook and the spread of occupy wall street. Social Science Research Network.

Summary: Argues that online resources, such as Facebook, greatly facilitated organizing efforts for the Occupy movement. Through reference to quantitative data describes how Facebook pages facilitated the creation of local encampments and the organization of protests and marches to oppose the existing economic and political system.

Cleaver, H. (1995). The Zapatistas and the electronic fabric of struggle.

Summary: Based on continuing research and participation in the electronic networks of cyberspace being used to circulate the struggles of the Zapatistas and the pro-democracy movement in Mexico to others around the world.

Hampson, N. C. H. (2012). Hacktivism: A new breed of protest in a networked world, 35 B.C. International & Comparative Law Review.

 Summary: This author argues that forms of hacktivism that are primarily expressive, that do not cause serious damage, and that do not exploit illegal access to networks or computers, sufficiently resemble traditional forms of protest to warrant protection from the application of anti-hacking laws under widely accepted principles of free speech.

Harlow, S., Harp, D., & Siegal, J. T. (2012). Collective action on the web. Information, Communication & Society, 15:2, 196-216.

Summary:  With Social networking sites (SNS) increasingly used to mobilize collective action, this cross-cultural study surveyed activists in the United States and Latin America to examine how respondents perceived the usefulness and the potential of SNS for activism. This quantitative and qualitative research found that respondents from both regions use SNS to mobilize supporters both online and offline. Countering previous research doubting the ability of online activism to inspire offline actions, results show  that online activism translates into offline activism, and that SNS play an important role in contemporary activism.

Itturriaga, M. (1996). The war of ink and internet. University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects.
Summary: “Discusses the use of the Internet by the Zapatistas and, more importantly, the dissemination of Zapatista information by their sympathizers outside of Mexico. Not only do these sites allow for dissident opinions to be heard over the objections of the government; they also provide an invaluable research tool for social and political scientists studying the rebellion and the conditions in present-day Mexico.”

Kristofferson, K., White, K. & Peloza, J. (2014). The nature of slacktivism: How the social observability of an initial act of token support affects subsequent prosocial action. Journal of Consumer Research, v. 40.

Summary: The present research proposes a conceptual framework elucidating two primary motivations that underlie subsequent helping behavior: a desire to present a positive image to others and a desire to be consistent with one’s own values. Importantly, the socially observable nature (public vs. private) of initial token support is identified as a key moderator that influences when and why token support does or does not lead to meaningful support for the cause. 

Lewis, K.,  Gray, K. & Meierhenrich, J. (2014). The Structure of Online Activism. Sociological Science 1: 1-9.

Summary: In this paper, we use complete records on the donation and recruitment activity of 1.2 million members of the Save Darfur “Cause” on Facebook to provide a detailed first look at a massive online social movement. While both donation and recruitment behavior are socially patterned, the vast majority of Cause members recruited no one else into the Cause and contributed no money to it — suggesting that in the case of the Save Darfur campaign, Facebook conjured an illusion of activism rather than facilitating the real thing.

Mercea, D. (2013). Probing the implications of Facebook use for the organizational form of social movement organizations, Information, Communication & Society, 16:8, 1306-1327.

Summary: On the use of Facebook by social movement organizations (SMOs) and the ramifications from that usage for their organizational form. Organizational forms have been viewed to be in flux as networked communication becomes embedded in mobilization repertoires. In what follows, it is shown that the utilization of Facebook by networked heterarchical organizations is seen to grant them access to a hitherto untapped demographic for the purpose of mobilization. Concurrently, questions are raised pertaining to organizational form, particularly in relation to the role the Facebook audience plays in movement organizations. Communication on Facebook may catalyze deliberation, information sharing and mobilization … Engagement between SMOs and their Facebook audience bore little on decision-making within the organizations.

Reitan (2012). Coalescence of the global peace and justice movements. Globalizations. 9(3). DOI: 10.1080/14747731.2012.680725

Summary: Examines how the Alter-Globalization Movement has sustained a transnational presence throughout the ongoing cycle of contention that began in the mid-1990s, even as priorities, leaders, targets, claims, and frames have continuously evolved.

Roberts (2012). Why the occupy movement failed.” Public Administration Review. 72(5), 754-762. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2012.02614.x

Summary: Reviews several books, including “Occupy! Scenes From Occupied America,”  “Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street,” and “Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action That Changed America.”

Valenzuela, S. & others. (2012).  The social media basis of youth protest behavior: The  case of Chile. Journal of communication,  62(2), 299-314. 

Summary: This article is on two massive protest movements in Chile in 2011. One involved the students protesting against the cost and quality of public education and the other involved the environmentalists protesting against the construction of power plants in Patagonia. Yet again Facebook and Twitter were used related to street demonstrations. Interestingly, the authors note that social media had a stronger association with public participation than the traditional media would have.

Vraga, E. K. & others. (2014). The rules of engagement: Comparing two social protest movements on YouTube. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(3): 133-140. doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0117.

Summary: “Social activism in online spaces such as YouTube is not easily defined, but is adapted to suit movement needs-which makes social media a popular and flexible venue for activism but also highlights the challenges for scholars studying such venues.”


Community and Society 

Castells, M. (2008). The new public sphere: Global civil society, communication networks, and global governance. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 616. DOI: 10.1177/0002716207311877

Summary: Describes the development and potential of public diplomacy (which seeks to induce a communication space in which a new, common language emerges that reflects not only interests and power making but also meaning and sharing). According to Castells, public diplomacy lays the ground for traditional forms of diplomacy to act beyond the strict negotiation of power relationships by building on shared cultural meaning.

Kling, R. (1999). “What is social informatics and why does it matter?” D-Lib Magazine.

Summary: This article serves as a brief introduction to social informatics (which examines the social aspects of computerization) for information technology professionals and researchers, and includes numerous references to help interested readers readily locate more comprehensive resources.

Liao, D., Chen, B., & Huang, C. (2013). The decline of ‘Chinese identity’ in Taiwan?! – an analysis of survey data from 1992 to 2012. East Asia: An International Quarterly, 30(4), 273-290.

Summary: “On the problem of “Chinese identity” and how this identity is gradually fading, as is evident in long-term public opinion polls conducted by various academic institutions in Taiwan between 1992 and 2012 … The occurrence of political events impacts identification, and creates a lasting effect on younger generations. These events seem to have a greater and more continuous impact on the younger and better educated generations. The gradual passing with age of the first generation of waishengren (people of Mainland Chinese origin who came to Taiwan after World War II and their descendents) has contributed somewhat to the decline of Chinese identity, but not enough to be a critical factor. “

MacKinnon, Rebecca. Blogging, journalism & credibility: battleground and common groundReport from a conference held January. 2005.

Summary: Strengthening the public discourse, and strengthening democracy, is indeed the common ground shared by professional journalists, bloggers, wikipedians and others involved in the creation of grassroots media.The conference established two important things: 1) that this common ground does indeed exist, and 2) that all are eager to work together. The goal is to create a better society and better means of giving citizens both the information they need and the forums of discourse required to hold their leaders truly accountable. Now we need to figure out how to achieve that goal. This conference has helped point us in the right direction, but the journey has only just begun.

Van Aiest and Walgrave (2002). New media, new movements? the role of the internet in shaping the ‘anti-globalization’ movement. Information, Communication, & Society.

Summary: Study from 2002 that analyzed the websites of anti-globalization organizations, examining the contribution of these sites to three different conditions that establish movement formation; collective identity; actual mobilization and a network of organizations.



Bakardjieva, M., Svensson, J., & Skoric, M. (Eds.) (2012). Digital citizenship and activism: questions of power and participation online.  Special Issue of eJournal of eDemocracy–JeDEM.

Summary: Articles detailing how online social networking has affected the power dynamics of political involvement for citizens, activists, and participants in social movements.

Chowdhury, M. (Sep. 2008). The role of the internet in Burma’s saffron revolution. Internet & Democracy Case Study Series.

Summary: The 2007 Saffron Revolution in Burma was an interesting  intersection between politics and technology. The event marks a rare instance in which a government tried to entirely black out Internet access to prevent people from sharing images and information with the outside world. It is also an example of an Internet driven protest without much success. This paper examines the root causes, progress, and outcomes of this Revolution and attempts to parse out the extent to which technology may have played a useful or detrimental role in the unfolding of events.

Desouza, K. & Lysenko, V. (2010). Role of internet-based information flows and technologies in electoral revolutions: The case of Ukraine’s orange revolution. First Monday. 15(9)

Summary: Investigates the role of Internet–based information communication technologies in electoral revolutions, with reference to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

Harrison, M. (2014). The sunflower movement in Taiwan, The China Story.

Summary: “Within the international community there is a view that the KMT government of President Ma has dealt effectively with the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China in the interests of Taiwan. During Ma’s tenure, there has been a lowering of political and military tension and a doubling of cross-straits trade. But the legacy of those men and women who built Taiwan into a modern democratic island over more than a century has been rendered invisible in this assessment of present-day cross-straits exchange. The student activists in the Legislative Yuan were campaigning to assert Taiwan’s island story and their place in it. For long-term peace across the straits, both the KMT and the Chinese government will need to find a way to recognise the legitimacy of that aspiration.”

Hindman, M. (2005). The real lessons of Howard Dean: reflections on the first digital campaign.”Perspectives on Politics. 3(1), pp. 121-128.

Summary: Describes the way in which the Dean campaign utilized the Internet for organization and financing and how this upended assumptions about primary dynamics, political recruitment, patterns of political giving, elite strategy, and the so-called digital divide.

Kushin and Kitchener (2009). Getting political on social network sites: Exploring online political discourse on Facebook. First Monday. 14(11)

Summary: Explores uses of the social network site Facebook for online political discussion. Analyzes the dynamics between those who support / oppose different political issues within the framework of Facebook.

Rawnsley, M.T., & Feng, C. (2014). Anti-media-monopoly policies and further democratisation in Taiwan. Journal Of Current Chinese Affairs, 43(3), 105-128.

Summary: “… the antimediamonopoly movement and the burgeoning civic movements in recent years as part of a “second wave” of democratisation for further political reform and democratic consolidation. When martial law was lifted in Taiwan in 1987, the “first wave” of media liberalisation ended with the commercialisation of industry. The “second wave” of media democratisation has picked up where the first wave left off and may finally establish, through increasingly more thoughtful media policies, a better and fairer media environment that is more suitable for democratic Taiwan.”


Race and Gender

Crenshaw, K. (1993). Mapping the margins : intersectionality, identity politics, violence, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241.

Summary: Contemporary feminist and antiracist discourse shave failed to consider the intersections of racism and patriarchy. Focusing on two dimensions of male violence against women-battering and rape-I consider how the experiences of women of color are frequently the product of intersecting patterns of racism and sexism, and how these experiences tend not to be represented within the discourse of either feminism or antiracism. Because of their intersectional identity as both women and people of color within discourses that are shaped to respond to one or the other, the interests and experiences of women of color are frequently marginalized within both.
Jenkins III, H. (1988). Star trek rerun, reread, rewritten: Fan writing as textual poaching. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 5 (2): 23.


Summary: This essay rejects media‐fostered stereotypes of Star Trek fans as cultural dupes, social misfits, or mindless consumers, perceiving them, in Michel de Certeau’s term, as “poachers” of textual meanings who appropriate popular texts and reread them in a fashion that serves different interests. Specifically, the essay considers women who write fiction based in the Star Trek universe. First, it outlines how these fans force the primary text to accommodate alternate interests. Second, it considers the issue of literary property in light of the moral economy of the fan community that shapes the range of permissible retellings of the program materials.

Kwon, K. H., Stefanone, M. A., & Barnett, G. A. (2014). Social network influence on online behavioral choices: Exploring group formation
on social network sites. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(10), 1345–1360.

Summary: “The current study builds on social influence literature to explore social network and gender effects on online behavior. Findings from a quasi-experiment suggest that both network-related variables and gender are significantly associated with online behavior. Perceived social environment, measured by personal network exposure rate, is more significant than objective reality, measured by frequency of received social messages, in determining behavior. We discuss the implications of social contagion effects on web-based strategic communication—including advertising, political campaigns, and social mobilization. Data limitations and the difficulty of measuring social network influence via social media are also discussed.”

Perry and Olsson (2009). Cyberhate: The globalization of hate. Information & Communications Technology Law.

Summary:   The many electronic means available to the movement allow an ease of communication and dissemination of their views never before possible. While there are obvious points of convergence across the various groups,  the hate movement has historically been varied and fractured. Internet communication facilitates the creation of the collective identity that is so important to movement cohesiveness. Clearly, this has strengthened the domestic presence of these groups in countries like the United States, Germany and Sweden. It is interesting to see many ways in which the Web facilitates the consolidation of a global movement.  Consequently, it allows the hate movement to extend its collective identity internationally, thereby facilitating a potential ‘global racist subculture’.

Senft, Theresa M., and Safiya Umoja Noble. (2013) Race and social media. Routledge Handbook of Social Media, 107.

Shaery-Eisenlohr (2011). From Subjects to Citizens? Civil Society and the Internet in Syria. Middle East Critique.

Summary: Focuses on the emergence of new media and the Internet in Syria, examining the possible relationship between new media and the rise of political liberalization in Syrian civil society.

Social Media

Bigge, R. (2006). The cost of (anti-)social networks: Identity, agency, and neo-luddites. First Monday, 11(12).

Summary: Asks “at what point does not being a member of a social network site become a liability? At what point does it become impossible to not be a member?” Considers how the structure of the Internet and the influence of commerce can impose limitations and conditions on those who use social media.

Cameron A., Massie, A., & Segev, D, et al. (2013). Social media and organ donor registration: The Facebook effect. American Journal Of Transplantation, 13(8), 2059-2065.

Summary: “May 1, 2012, the online social network, Facebook, altered its platform to allow members to specify “Organ Donor” as part of their profile. Upon such choice, members were offered a link to their state registry to complete an official designation, and their “friends” in the network were made aware of the new status as a donor. Educational links regarding donation were offered to those considering the new organ donor status. …Novel applications of social media may prove effective in increasing organ donation rates and likewise might be utilized in other refractory public health problems in which communication and education are essential.”

Chao, L. (2013). Brazil: The social media capital of the universe. Wall Street Journal. Feb. 5.

Summary: Famous athletes world-wide, including the Denver Nuggets basketball team (along with former Brazilian teammate Nene Hilario) and Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo have been captured on videos dancing to the song. Twitter has recently launched operations in Sao Paulo and is hiring its own sales, marketing and business-development teams here, according to Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president of international revenue growth.

Gruzd, A. and Roy, J. (2014). Investigating political polarization on twitter: A Canadian perspective. Policy & Internet, 6: 28–45.

Summary: “This article investigates political polarization in social media by undertaking social network analysis of a sample of 5,918 tweets posted by 1,492 Twitter users during the 2011 Canadian Federal Election.”

Kim, D. (2014). Rules of Twitter. Hybrid pedagogy.

Summary: “Twitter is an incredibly dynamic digital tool that can create spaces of flattened hierarchies. These spaces can fuel inclusive pedagogy. But before teaching with Twitter, instructors have to think about how to use it together with students. What are the rules — particularly in relation to ethics?”

Ma, Z.,  Sun, A. & Cong, G. (2013).  On predicting the popularity of newly emerging hashtags in twitter. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64.7 : 1399-1410.

Summary: “Because of Twitter’s popularity and the viral nature of information dissemination on Twitter, predicting which Twitter topics will become popular in the near future becomes a task of considerable economic importance. Many Twitter topics are annotated by hashtags. In this article, we propose methods to predict the popularity of new hashtags on Twitter by formulating the problem as a classification task. We use five standard classification models (i.e., Naïve bayes, k-nearest neighbors, decision trees, support vector machines, and logistic regression) for prediction. The main challenge is the identification of effective features for describing new hashtags.”

Reips, U., & Garaizar, P. (2011). Mining twitter: A source for psychological wisdom of the crowds.  Behavior Research Methods, 43(3), 635-642.

Summary: “Location awareness and promptness provide researchers using the Internet with the opportunity to create ‘psychological landscapes’-that is, to detect differences and changes in voiced (twittered) emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. The article presents iScience Maps, a free Web service for researchers, available from and . Technologically, the service is based on Twitter’s streaming and search application programming interfaces (APIs), accessed through several PHP libraries, and a JavaScript frontend. This service allows researchers to assess via Twitter the effect of specific events in different places as they are happening and to make comparisons between cities, regions, or countries regarding psychological states and their evolution in the course of an event. In a step-by-step example, it is shown how to replicate a study on affective and personality characteristics inferred from first names (Mehrabian & Piercy, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 755-758 ) by mining Twitter data with iScience Maps. “

The Physics ARXIV Blog (2012). History, as recorded on Twitter, is vanishing from the webMIT Technology Review.

Summary: Describes the difficulties inherent in curating social media content.

“Almost 30 per cent of recorded history, shared over social media such as Twitter, has disapeared, according to a new study of the Egyptian uprising and other significant events  “

Unankard, Sayan, Xue Li, and Mohamed A. Sharaf (2014). Emerging event detection in social networks with location sensitivity. World Wide Web, 1-25.

Summary: “This paper proposes an approach for the early detection of emerging hotspot events in social networks with location sensitivity. We consider the message-mentioned locations for identifying the locations of events. In our approach, we identify strong correlations between user locations and event locations in detecting the emerging events. We evaluate our approach based on a real-world Twitter dataset. Our experiments show that the proposed approach can effectively detect emerging events with respect to user locations that have different granularities.”

Surveillance and Censorship

Blau, J. (2014). NSA surveillance sparks talk of national internets. IEEE Spectrum, 51(2), 14-16.

Summary: Just imagine the “network of all networks,” the globe-spanning Internet, becoming a loose web of tightly guarded, nearly impermeable regional or even national networks. It seems antithetical to the mythology surrounding the Internet’s power and purpose. But ongoing revelations about the extensive surveillance activities of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) are pushing countries like Germany and Brazil to take concrete steps in that direction.

Dalek, M.-B., et al. (2013). Planet blue coat: Mapping global censorship and surveillance tools. The Citizen Lab.

Summary: “Blue Coat Devices capable of filtering, censorship, and surveillance are being used around the world. During several weeks of scanning and validation that ended in January 2013, we uncovered 61 Blue Coat ProxySG devices and 316 Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances, devices with specific functionality permitting filtering, censorship, and surveillance…”

Deibert, R. (2013). Trouble at the border: china’s internet. Index on Censorship ,42(2), 132-135.

Summary: “The Chinese government uses sophisticated methods to censor the internet, from intercepting correspondence to forcing companies to prevent the ‘spread of harmful information’. Despite citizens’ attempts to circumvent barriers, it has created an robust alternative design.”

Hsu, C. (2014). China’s influence on Taiwan’s media. Asian Survey, 54(3), 515-39.

Summary: The warming cross-Taiwan Strait relationship has allowed China greater opportunities to influence Taiwan’s media. Three interrelated strategies—greater economic control over media outlets, pressure exerted on media owners, and the purchase of influential advertisements—have led to growing concerns about the erosion of press freedoms in Taiwan.

Moura, P. & Tavares, R. (2014). Brazil puts the internet to rights. Intermedia, 42(2), 4-5.

Summary: A summary is presented of the Brazilian internet legislation, Marco Civil da Internet, or Internet Civil Framework Act signed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in reaction to the excesses of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

The surveillance state and its discontents. (Nov./Dec. 2013). Foreign Policy.

Summary: The article focuses on activists, hackers, and statesmen involved in internet security, surveillance, and leaking of information concerning U.S. surveillance in the 21st century. It comments on former contractor Edward Snowden who provided journalists with classified documents from the U.S National Security Agency (NSA) and fled the U.S. to Hong Kong, China in June of 2013 and then Russia where he sought asylum. It talks about U.S. General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, and his concerns that the private sector can’t protect itself from cyberattacks. It mentions Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff who has openly criticized the United States’ surveillance of world leaders and other nations.



Benkler, Y. (2002). Coase’s penguin, or, linux and the nature of the firm. Yale Law Journal. v. 112.

Summary: Generalizes from the phenomenon of free software to suggest characteristics that make large scale collaborations in many information production fields sustainable and productive in a digitally networked environment without reliance on markets or managerial hierarchy. Focuses on the ways in which peer production offers improved identification of resources and allocation of human creativity as compared to market based models of production.

Darnton, R. (2000). An early information society: News and the media in eighteenth-century Paris. The American Historical Review, 105(1), 1-35.

Summary: Uses a description of news and the media in eighteenth-century Paris to demonstrate that when information is disseminated it necessarily flows through a social system. Details how social systems include communications processes that take place in several modes in many settings, always involving discussion and sociability.

Lessig, L. (1998).  “The laws of cyberspace”. Taiwan Net ’98.

Summary: Describes how behavior is modified by four constraints: law, social norms, market forces, and environment / architecture and the ways in which these constraints relate to cyberlaw and Internet use.

Neto (2008). Internet-driven changes in environmental NGO actionTriple-C.

Summary: Describes the ways in which the actions and structures of NGOs have been changed by the use of information communication technologies.

Ogun, M. N. (2012). Terrorist use of internet: Possible suggestions to prevent the usage for terrorist purposes. Journal of Applied Security Research, 7(2).

Summary: As new developments occur everyday in technology, terrorists are easily adjusting themselves to this change. In this new age of terrorism, terrorism is transnational, institutionalized, technologically advanced, and global. In this respect, today’s terrorist organizations are using the Internet for different purposes. This study is focused on the exploitation of Internet by terrorist organizations for their activities and as a case study interviews were conducted to find out the solutions to overcome terrorist networks in terms of terrorist use of Internet.