In recent years, better access to the internet has dramatically changed the character of collective civic and political actions. It’s a global phenomenon that Dr Anuradha Rao and Prof Mohan J Dutta from NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media investigate in an article published in Communication Monographs (November 2016). They pay special attention to the motivations and collective actions of Internet-based urban civil society groups in Bangalore, India’s IT City.
Their paper identifies a range of factors that influence collective action, including attitudes toward the Internet as a tool for democratic engagement, ideological motivations, and the tensions that seethe between traditional and new civil society actors in the city. The authors argue that such ethnographic enquiry is significant in highlighting the potential impacts as well as dangers of any collective action that is fueled by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The paper recommends more of such grounded assessments of the nuances, limits, and impacts of ICT application in collective action within the complex, developing societies in Asia.