From Vigilantism to Digilantism?

  • Frauke ReichlEmail author
Part of the Security Informatics and Law Enforcement book series (SILE)


Citizens have always taken justice “into their own hands”. Yet social media make this even easier, as misbehaviour can become not only more visible, they can also be punished more easily. This phenomenon, known from the offline world as vigilantism, is often referred to as digital vigilantism or digilantism. Using well known cases as examples, this chapter illustrates how social media create new forms and new practices of vigilantism. It further presents and reviews theoretical frameworks for vigilantism and their application to the online arena. Overall, it aims to answer the question whether there is an actual qualitative shift from vigilantism to digilantism or whether the new forms are rather conventional vigilantism through new means.


Vigilantism Digilantism Citizen justice Boston marathon bombings Vancouver riots Amanda Todd Case example 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterMünsterGermany

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