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Dissertation Information for Bi Yun Huang

- Bi Yun Huang

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- Indiana University (USA) (2009)

- Howard Rosenbaum

- Noriko Hara
- Kiduk Yang
- Erik Bucy

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Analyzing a social movement's use of Internet: Resource mobilization, new social movement theories and the case of Falun Gong

Abstract: Falun Gong emerged as spiritual social movement after being outlawed by the Chinese Communist Party authorities in 1999. Since then, Falun Gong practitioners have made heavy use of information and communication technologies, particularly the Internet, to further their movement's activities. This dissertation systematically examines the role of Internet technology (i.e. use, impact, development and consequences) on Falun Gong activists through the lenses of resource mobilization (RM) and new social movement (NSM) theories.

Major theories, theoretical observations and empirical findings by various social movement researchers are examined to understand the development of social movements and the relationship between social movements and Internet technology. This study employs two major research strategies; a qualitative single case study (consisting of three main methods: unstructured interviews, participant observations, and document review) and a quantitative survey questionnaire. A conceptual scheme is constructed by drawing upon key components from RM and NSM theories to guide data analysis.

Results reveal that as a grassroots social movement, Falun Gong has been positively impacted by practitioners' uses of Internet technology in three main ways. Interviewees and respondents use multiple Internet services and develop innovative software modified to suit their movement needs. They are able to access and acquire various types of resources (e.g., knowledge, money, materials). They are capable of making use of the opportunities offered by the Internet to work on a range of online tactics to mobilize online/offline action and undermine the influence of the CCP's counteractions. Furthermore, Internet use is a catalyst for constructing the practitioners' collective identity and reinforcing the social network of the movement among distant practitioners. Falun Gong practitioners have embraced the opportunities that the Internet affords and have found creative and innovative uses for its global social movement mobilization while negotiating around its constraints.

This dissertation argues that a case study combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches is useful and provides the researcher with different and fruitful ways of operationalizing and measuring theoretical constructs that can be used to study social movements. The combination of RM and NSM theories serves as a solid framework to analyze online grassroots social movements.

MPACT Scores for Bi Yun Huang

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calculated 2010-09-25 23:55:03

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