chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

There has been a proliferation of research on social movements during the past several decades, and the emergence of new information communication technologies (ICTs) and the digital media boom have strongly affected this scholarship. Electronic social movement organizations (SMOs) and online activists are redefi ning political struggle across the dimensions of contentious and electoral politics in terms of recruitment, mobilizing and strategizing, fundraising, and campaigning. Not only have SMOs gone online to disseminate information and publicize protest information, but the explosion of e-movements, e-protest, and e-activism highlights the importance of the Internet as an organizational tool (Earl and Schussman 2003). Wired activism has become a signifi cant, if not essential, repertoire for social movement actors within the new communication landscape which allows activists to engage in new forms of disruptive activity (such as hacktivism and e-mail spamming), and/or adapt existing modes of contention to an online environment (virtual sit-ins, online petitions, etc.).