Collective Action in Digital Age: A Multilevel Approach

AbstractThis theory paper proposes a multilevel model for analyzing collective actions for social change in the networked information age. The model includes four levels of agency (individual, group, organizational, and bot) and three levels of affordance (application, network infrastructure, and socio-political system) to help analyze social change dynamics which have become more decentralized. Mechanisms and outcomes of interactions between factors in the model should be considered to offer a more complete picture of social change facilitated by digital communication technologies. Empirical studies based on this model will help illuminate the evolution of communication structures as well as the affordances that evolution provides for social change. Moreover, speedy disintermediation in networked spaces and interactions between the levels in this process provides an opportunity for better understanding information generation and mediation in this rapidly changing media environment.

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