Mobile phones, social ties, and collective action mobilization in China

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

To provide a better understanding of mobile phones as a recruitment tool in collective actions, this study explores the use of mobile phones for mobilizing protest in China. Using in-depth interviews and investigating four cases in which Chinese people employed mobile devices to recruit participants for protests, this study observes that mobile communication in China embodies guanxi, the indigenous social tie in Chinese society that introduces reciprocity as an influential facilitator of collective actions. The embedment of reciprocity facilitates the proliferation of mobilizing calls, legitimizes mobilizing appeals, generates obligations and consolidates solidarity for collective actions. The study concludes with a consideration of the relevance of mobile phones for the embedment of reciprocity in social ties in the mobilization of collective action in authoritarian regimes such as China.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)213–227
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - mobile communication, collective action mobilization, social tie, reciprocity, China, guanxi

ID: 162860241