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Reconceptualizing online free spaces: a case study of the Sunflower movement

Au, Anson (2016) Reconceptualizing online free spaces: a case study of the Sunflower movement. Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia, 15 (2). pp. 145-161. ISSN 2383-9449

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Identification Number: 10.17477/jcea.2016.15.2.145


Using the Sunflower movement as a case study, this article seeks to articulate a theoretical framework to evaluate online "free spaces" as tools for political mobilization. To this end, this article conducts a thematic and content analysis of 151 posts on the official Facebook page of the Sunflower movement. Key results uncover four thematic functions among posts - expressive, informative, informative-support, and promotional - that overlap, in which the expressive theme prevails, and two thematic topics discussed by posts - damages by protesters and their ideology of freedom. I conclude that: (1) combining the logistic and thematic dimensions of posts enables a specific understanding of an online free space`s political viability and anticipates the campaigns it will connect itself to; (2) the networked nature of the Sunflower movement page prompts the reconceptualization of (i) online free spaces as nodes through which various political campaigns and struggles are thematically connected by a political ideology; (ii) inactivity as a strategy where protest capital and followers accumulate to prepare and empower future mobilizations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 World Association for Triple hElix and Future strategy studies
Divisions: Methodology
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2018 13:59
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 23:15

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