This article investigates to what extent activity of a social movement on a social networking site is related to participation in offline collective action. This research contributes to a broader theory of effective communicative structures of social movements. We use the data from seventeen online groups representing the branches of the Observers for Fair Elections movement in districts of St. Petersburg, Russia, and compare their online properties to offline participation of movement members as electoral observers. We find that while prediction of individual offline participation with this online data is of limited power, association between district participation rates and online group features is very strong. Large, more inclusive and evenly connected networks, where people engage in high-threshold online activities, produce more offline participants; weak individual-level prediction, combined with strong group-level prediction, suggests either the presence of the “network effect” or of third factors—e.g., prior contentious experience or the leaders' effect.
EXPLAINING OFFLINE PARTICIPATION IN A SOCIAL MOVEMENT WITH ONLINE DATA: THE CASE OF OBSERVERS FOR FAIR ELECTIONS*
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Olessia Y. Koltsova, Galina Selivanova; EXPLAINING OFFLINE PARTICIPATION IN A SOCIAL MOVEMENT WITH ONLINE DATA: THE CASE OF OBSERVERS FOR FAIR ELECTIONS. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 1 March 2019; 24 (1): 77–94. doi: https://doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-24-1-77
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