Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Imprecise measurement tools impede the study of protest mobilization. Mobilization proxies, such as counting protesters and protest events, result in significant outliers and variance while ignoring sociocultural, cybernetic, economic, legal, and other features that relevant academic literature considers essential to understanding mobilization dynamics. Without accurate empirical models, researchers’ and policymakers’ investigations of autocratic repression have little explanatory power. This thesis proposes a methodological addition to the mobilization literature: Two three-level scales distinguish an event’s potential to attract an audience from the protest’s actual output relative to similar episodes. I employ the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) project to demonstrate the measurement’s utility. Afterwards, I apply these models to conduct an impact assessment of recent Egyptian cyberregulatory laws. Controlling for the grievances of protesters and performing other robustness checks, the time series demonstrates a strong, statistically significant relationship between the policies and the reduction of low-level potential mobilizational capacity of Egyptian dissidents, but fails to identify an expected relationship between police pressure and the decline of mobilizational capacity. These findings contribute to the theoretical frameworks of mobilization scholars and policymaker discussions regarding the value of internet censorship tools for curtailing oppositional political action.
Garner, Wesley, "The Art of Repression: Digital Dissent and Power Consolidation in El-Sisi’s Egypt" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1405.
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