When Information Becomes Action: How Information Communication Technologies Affect Collective Action During Crises




Martin-Shields, Charles Patrick

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Over the last 10 years, the dramatic increase in access to information communications technologies (ICTs) in developing countries has spurred popular efforts to use them for crisis response and violence prevention. As access to mobile phones and the internet has expanded, a key question remains: Do people actually use these tools for participation in governance processes? The results from my case studies and survey data strongly indicate that they do not. Even among groups we expect to be technologically savvy, for example the young, urban and/or wealthy, patterns of information gathering during crisis are still oriented toward traditional broadcast media and elite messaging. Instead, the evidence from my case studies and surveys indicate that people make decisions about the validity and actionability of information during crises based on complex social and political factors that are tangentially related to technology access.



Political science, Peace studies, Public policy, Collective Action, Comparative Methods, Crisis Management, Institutions, Technology