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Webinar "Technology and Protest in Autocracies"

Webinar "Technology and Protest in Autocracies: Roles of Platforms, Regimes, and Activists" will take place on March 16, 2023.
Starting time 11 a.m. CET (12 a.m. Vilnius time, 13 p.m. Minsk time).
Place Zoom.
Speaker Alesia Rudnik, PhD Candidate in Political Science at Karlstad University, guest researcher at IRES (Uppsala University), Research Fellow at Center for New Ideas.
Working language English.
In order to participate, please register.
We will send the link to the registered participants in one hour before the event.

With the development of technology, politics, decision-making, and communication shifted towards new social networking platforms expanding political repertoire of pro-democratic movements and autocratic regimes. For the last decade, some scholars have been arguing that the development of technology and its spreading to authoritarian countries impacts democratization. Other scholars have debated it researching how autocratic regimes enhance and improve their usage of technology. 

The interaction of material worlds, technological advancements, and human capital during protest episodes in autocracies lies in the focus of this doctoral thesis. Through the lens of science and technology studies, actor-network theory in particular, I follow the steps of actors within sophisticated socio-technical networks that emerged in Belarus on the eve of post-electoral protests. 

The thesis focuses on Belarus and Russia, two authoritarian states where Telegram and TikTok were recently activated for large-scale protests, in August 2020 and in January 2021. During the presentation, speaker will share the results of analysis of protest-related content on Telegram and TikTok, as well as share preliminary reflections on the interviews with Belarusian protest participants, activists, and Telegram channels' editors who were active during the protests in Belarus in 2020.