Yannis Theocharis
Cuts, Tweets, Solidarity and Mobilisation: How the Internet Shaped the Student Occupations

Parliamentary Affairs, 2012: 65, Heft 1, S. 162-194
ISSN: 00312290

After the UK government announced cuts to higher education and an increase in the tuition fee cap, thousands of students across the country used new media tools to organise peaceful protests at over 35 universities. Although extensive theoretical frameworks about online mobilisation and political action are available, we know very little about how these new informational tools are used in practice. This article provides an overview of the increasingly influential role of the internet in youth politics. Using the case study of the student occupations, it assesses the role of a variety of online tools and methods that were used to coordinate and mobilise young people. The study reveals the extensive use of old and new online platforms and hardware, and the constant blending of offline and online repertoires of participation, which have facilitated a novel way of organising political action. It argues that the student protests were important in demonstrating the potential of new media for political mobilisation, stresses the need to better understand the role of digital tools in political activism and suggests avenues for further research.