Group Project

Link to Group Sign-up page


Group Project: Mapping Social Media and Citizen Movements Around the World


This project is intended to be a collaborative project involving the entire class. However, students will work in small groups (maximum of 4 and a minimum of 3 per group) and the results from each group will actually feed into a real research project being developed as part of the CORD (Collaboration for Research on Democracy) international research network.


The key objective of the class project is to examine how emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs), specifically digital social networks, are changing the dynamics of citizen-state relations, and how network-mediated knowledge and awareness creation catalyzes and drives activism and rights claiming. A central question is how does network-mediated knowledge relate to knowledge that is generated through other more conventional channels? To answer the latter question, there is a need to first map out what is happening in different parts of the world with regard to how citizens have been using technology to claim rights and/or actively engage with policy makers and with other like-minded organizations. For instance, most of us are aware of the use of mobile technology in the organization of recent political uprisings - including Egypt, Iran, Syria, etc. Why was the use of this technology so useful for these events? Did it result in a positive developmental outcome for citizens? These are some of the questions we hope to understand throughout this project. (PLEASE SEE THIS SUPPLEMENT PAGE TO SEE FURTHER BACKGROUND ON THE OBJECTIVE)


Each group will map their specific case studies on a world map. This will allow us to draw comparisons of different practices within the region and between regions around the world. With the data collected, we will be able to see if there are patterns or regularity that allow us to assess the adequacy or gaps in existing theoretical treatments (a number of which are covered in this course) of the role of network technology in knowledge production and social mobilization and what they mean for citizenship and development in the Global South.

The exercise will be developed through several stages:

Stage 1: Forming the group according to regional interest. (Sign-up by Oct. 5th)

Each student will sign up for a geographical region that they would like to explore throughout the duration of the group project. The group sign-up sheet can be found here. Once signed-up, each group will Identify and map [on a Google map] 3-4 different instances (1 case study per group member) in which citizens have utilized technology to actively engage with policy makers, claim rights or demand social change. It is strongly recommended that students pick the region with which they have some familiarity in terms of language, culture and political context. Students must sign up to be a group member on this page by Oct. 5.


Groups should create a collective workspace using the wiki, google docs, or any other collaborative work environment that they wish. Links must be provided to any work completed outside of the wiki space. 

Stage 2: Data collection. (to be completed by Oct. 26th, 5 of 30 marks) 

In this phase, each group member will work mainly independently to answer the following questions in a 3-page (1000-1200 word report). You should use this matrix to help you with the data gathering process:


This section should be completed independently by each group member, with input from other group members as required. Each group member should have their own workspace on the group's wiki. (see Matthew Wang's Work Space, under the Northern China Group's page as an example of how to set-up your report) Each group members' case study reports should be completed directly on their individual wiki pages. These reports should be 1000-1200 words in length and include a properly formatted Bibliography. The data matrix should also be included at the end of this report. This section will be worth 5% of your overall grade, however this should be considered a work in progress - you will have time to fill in the gaps as the project progresses.


The marking criteria for this section is below: 




Stage 3: Case Study Comparison Amongst Group Members (To be completed by Nov. 9, 10 out of 30 marks)

Compare and map your individual case studies with other members of your group. What are the similarities and differences amongst case studies in your particular geographical area? What factors contribute to the differences and similarities and why do they occur?


In terms of a deliverable for this stage, we would like to see some form of visual, such as a chart, that depicts the similarities and differences amongst your case studies. The chart should be followed by a collective summary and explanation of findings, up to a maximum of 5 pages. (We are open to other suggestions for ways of presenting information at this stage)


The group will also begin to compile an annotated bibliography at this stage (with a minimum of 5 academic sources from each member). (See this site for instructions on how to write and format an annotated bibliography)



Stage 4: Final Write-up (To be completed by Dec. 4, 15 out of 30 marks)

This stage entails a report (written collectively by group members) summarizing the findings as well as assessing the appropriate theories and literature (from the bibliography compiled) for the data and observations collected by the group. At this stage you will also want to review the findings of your classmates and their respective geographical areas, to draw comparisons within your own work.  What limitations are present in the existing literature on this topic? What are your conclusions about the role of ICT in facilitating citizen actions and democracy? (12 pages; 15-20+ annotated sources)


View Mapping ICT and Citizen Movements in a larger map