Spreading the word or shaping the conversation: "Prosumption" in protest websites

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Over the last several decades, the social movement sector in the United States has been professionalizing, creating a large number of highly professionalized, formal social movement organizations. And yet, over the last decade, digital technologies have been used to undermine long-settled distinctions between producers and consumers in a number of areas of social and economic life as relative amateurs engage in production (e.g., citizen journalism). Drawing an analogy between protest organizers and producers on the one hand, and protest participants and consumers on the other hand, it would seem possible that digital technologies could be used to up-end brightline distinctions between organizers and participants in the protest sector as well. I outline two different ways these prosumptive forces could shape protest and then use a five year panel dataset on websites across 20 different social movement areas to understand the net effect of prosumptive versus professionalizing trends. Findings suggest that while there has been some adoption of disruptive digital technologies by protest-related websites, the majority of sites still limit and circumscribe participant participation to pre-choreographed actions. Findings shed important light on the continuing social organization of protest in the dawning of the digital age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
EditorsPatrick Coy, Michael Edelstein
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameResearch in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
ISSN (Print)0163-786X


  • Internet
  • Prosumption
  • Social movement organizations
  • Social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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