Is the internet changing our conception of democracy? an analysis of the internet use during protests and its efect on the perception of democracy

Javier Sajuria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Downloads (Pure)


The last several years have seen the rise of social movements around the globe,
such as the student protests in the UK and Chile, the Arab Spring, the Indignados,
and the Occupy movement. They represent different political aspirations, but
all of them relied heavily on the Internet to communicate and organise. This
research analyses two specific contentious processes – the UK student protests
and the Chilean environmentalist protests in 2010 – to assess the effect that the
Internet may have had on the protesters' perception of democracy. Through
data gathered from online surveys, interviews, and the Oxford Internet Survey
2009, this article observes the effect of the Internet in two dimensions: support
for democracy, and the protesters’ conception of democracy. Preliminary results
show that Internet use is related to a more horizontal conception of democracy,
and that more analyses are required to test whether that association is caused by
the Internet or a utopian discourse about it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-29
Number of pages21
JournalPolítica, Revista de Ciencia Politica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2013


  • democracy
  • internet
  • protests
  • Chile

Cite this