Collective Action Theory Meets the Blogosphere: A New Methodology

  • Nitin Agarwal
  • Merlyna Lim
  • Rolf T. Wigand
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 136)


With the advent of advanced yet exoteric ICTs, especially the social media, new forms of collective actions have emerged to illuminate several fundamental yet theoretically obscure aspects of collective actions. Existing computational studies focusing on capturing and mapping the interactions and issues prevailing in social media manage to identify the manifestations of collective actions. They, however, lack modeling and predictive capabilities. In this paper, we propose a new methodology to gain deeper insights into cyber-collective actions by analyzing issue propagation, influential community members’ roles, and transcending nature of collective actions through individual, community, and transnational perspectives, The efficacy of the proposed model is demonstrated by a case-study on Al-Huwaider’s campaigns consisting of 150 blogs from 17 countries tracked between 2003 and 2010. To the best of our knowledge, the proposed methodology is the first to address the lacking fundamental research shedding light on re-framing Collective Action Theory in online environments.


collective action methodology blogosphere social computing social network analysis community influence transnational issue crawler 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Quirk, P.W.: Iran’s Twitter Revolution. Foreign Policy in Focus (June 17, 2009),
  2. 2.
    Masr, B.: Stop, Look, What’s that Sound – The Death of Egyptian Activism (February 8, 2009),
  3. 3.
    Tarrow, S.: Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Berry, J.: The Interest Group Society. Little Brown, Boston (1984)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Olson, M.: The Logic of Collective Action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1965)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Olson, M., Zeckhauser, R.: An economic theory of alliances. Review of Economics and Statistics 48, 266–279 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Rafaeli, S., Larose, R.: Electronic Bulletin Boards and ’Public Goods’ Explanations of Collaborative Mass Media. Communication Research 20(2), 277–297 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Flanagin, A., Monge, P., Fulk, J.: The value of formative investment in organizational federations. Human Communication Research 27, 69–93 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wigand, R., Steinfield, C., Markus, M.: IT Standards Choices and Industry Structure Outcomes: The Case of the United States Home Mortgage Industry. Journal of Management Information Systems 22(2), 165–191 (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Markus, M., Steinfield, C., Wigand, R., Minton, G.: Industry-wide IS Standardization as Collective Action: The Case of the US Residential Mortgage Industry. MIS Quarterly 30, 439–465 (2006); Special Issue on Standard MakingGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kollock, P.: The Economies of Online Cooperation: Gifts and Public Goods in Cyberspace. In: Smith, M., Kollock, P. (eds.) Communities in Cyberspace, pp. 220–239. Routledge, London (1999)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Marwell, G., Oliver, P.: The Critical Mass in Collective Action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lupia, A., Sin, G.: Which Public Goods Are Endangered? How Evolving Technologies Affect The Logic of Collective Action. Public Choice 117, 315–331 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bimber, B., Flanagin, A., Stohl, C.: Reconceptualizing collective action in the contemporary media environment. Communication Theory 15(4), 365–388 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    McAdam, D.: The framing function of movement tactics: strategic dramaturgy in the American civil rights movement. In: McAdam, D., McCarthy, J.D., Zald, M.N. (eds.) Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Framing, Cambridge, pp. 38–55. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Etzioni, A., Etzioni, O.: Face-to-face and computer-mediated communities, a comparative analysis. The Information Society 15, 241–248 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Van de Donk, W., Foederer, B.: E-movements or emotions? ICTs and social movements: Some preliminary results. In: Prins, J. (ed.) Ambitions and limits on the crossroad of technological innovation and institutional change, Boston (2001)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bob, C.: The Marketing of Rebellion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lim, M.: CyberCivic Space in Indonesia: From Panopticon to Pandemonium. International Development and Planning Review (Third World Planning Review) 24(4), 383–400 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lim, M.: From War-net to Net-War: The Internet and Resistance Identities in Indonesia. The International Information & Library Review 35(2-4), 233–248 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bimber, B.: Information and American Democracy: Technology in the Evolution of Political Power. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Norris, P.: Democratic Phoenix: Reinventing Political Activism. Cambridge University Press, New York (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    McCaughey, M., Ayers, M. (eds.): Cyberactivism: Online activism in theory and practice. Routledge, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bruns, A.: Methodologies for mapping the political blogosphere: An exploration using the IssueCrawler research tool. University of Illinois, Chicago (2010)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lin, J., Halavais, A.: Mapping the blogosphere in America. In: Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem in the 13th International World Wide Web Conference (2004)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Adamic, L., Glance, N.: The political blogosphere and the 2004 US election. In: In the Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Link Discovery, pp. 36–43 (2005)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kelly, J., Etling, B.: Mapping Irans Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere, Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Internet & Democracy Project, Harvard Law School (2008)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Etling, B., Kelly, J., Faris, R., Palfrey, J.: Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent, Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Internet & Democracy Project, Harvard Law School (2009)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wigand, R.T.: Some Recent Developments in Organizational Communication: Network Analysis - A Systemic Representation of Communication Relationships. Communications International Journal of Communication Research 3(2), 181–200 (1977)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Coleman, J.S.: Relational Analysis: A Study of Social Organization with Survey Methods. In: Lazarsfeld, P.P., Pasanella, A.K., Rosenberg, M. (eds.) Continuities in the Language of Social Research, pp. 258–266 (1972)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rosenberg, M.: Conditional Relationships. In: Lazarsfeld, P.P., Pasanella, A.K., Rosenberg, M. (eds.) Continuities in the Language of Social Research, pp. 133–147 (1972)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Coombs, M., Ulicny, B., Jaenisch, H., Handley, J., Faucheux, J.: Formal Analytic Modeling of Bridge Blogs as Personal Narrative: A Case Study in Grounding Interpretation. In: Proceeding of the Workshop on Social Computing, Behavioral Modeling, and Prediction (SBP), Phoenix, pp. 207–217 (2008)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Fortunato, S.: Community detection in graphs. Phy. Reports 486(3-5), 75–174 (2009)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kritikopoulos, A., Sideri, M., Varlamis, I.: Blogrank: ranking weblogs based on connectivity and similarity features. In: International Workshop on Advanced Architectures and Algorithms for Internet DElivery and Applications, AAA-IDEA (2006)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Agarwal, N., Liu, H., Tang, L., Yu, P.: Identifying Influential Bloggers in a Community. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM), California, pp. 207–218 (February 10-12, 2008)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Jamjoom, M.: Saudi women raise their voices over male guardianship. In: CNN World (September 7 ,2010),
  37. 37.
    Blodgett, B.M.: And the ringleaders were banned: an examination of protest in virtual worlds. In: Proceedings of the fourth International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T 2009), pp. 135–144. ACM Press, New York (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Clarks, J., Thermado, N.: Linking the Web and the Street: Internet-Based Dotcause and the Anti-Globalization Movement. World Development 34, 50–74 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Saeed, S., Rohde, M., Wulf, V.: ICTs, An alternative sphere for Social Movements in Pakistan: A Research Framework. Paper Presented at IADIS international conference on E-Society, Algarve, Portugal (April 9-12,2008)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Shih, C.-C., Peng, T.-C., Lai, W.-S.: Mining the Blogosphere to Generate Cuisine Hotspot Maps. Journal of Digital Information Management 8(6), 396–401 (2010)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ishida, K.: Spam Blog Filtering with Bipartite Graph Clustering and Mutual Detection between Spam Blogs and Words. Journal of Digital Information Management 8(2), 108–116 (2010)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Esuli, A., Sebastiani, F. S.: A publicly available lexical resource for opinion mining. In: Proceedings of Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC), vol. 6, Genoa, Italy, pp. 417–422 (May 24-26, 2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nitin Agarwal
    • 1
  • Merlyna Lim
    • 2
  • Rolf T. Wigand
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information ScienceUniversity of Arkansas at Little RockLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Transformation – Justice and Social InquiryArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations