The digital repression of social movements, protest, and activism: A synthetic review

Jennifer Earl, Thomas V. Maher, Jennifer Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Repression research examines the causes and consequences of actions or policies that are meant to, or actually do, raise the costs of activism, protest, and/or social movement activity. The rise of digital and social media has brought substantial increases in attention to the repression of digital activists and movements and/or to the use of digital tools in repression, which is spread across many disciplines and areas of study. We organize and review this growing welter of research under the concept of digital repression by expanding a typology that distinguishes actions based on actor type, whether actions are overt or covert, and whether behaviors are shaped by coercion or channeling. This delineation between broadly different forms of digital repression allows researchers to develop expectations about digital repression, better understand what is “new” about digital repression in terms of explanatory factors, and better understand the consequences of digital repression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabl8198
JournalScience Advances
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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