Democracy, action, and the Internet after 9/11

Deana A. Rohlinger, Jordan Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study examines the role of the Internet in challenging the state after 9/11. Drawing on interview data with members of the Internet-based group and participant observation data collected at MoveOn events, the authors argue that the Internet provides citizens an opportunity to lodge democratic challenges against the state during hostile political climates. There are at least three features of the Internet that make it a useful tool for challengers after political shocks such as 9/11: (a) it provides a free space for challengers to form oppositional points of view away from dominant groups; (b) it allows individuals to participate anonymously and, thus, buffers challengers from the high costs of activism; and (c) it moves challenges from the virtual to the real world by engaging citizens in intermediary forms of activism. In short, the Internet engages individuals in a broader range of activities-and this has important implications for democratic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-150
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Activism
  • Democracy
  • Internet
  • Mass media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)


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