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date: 18 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

However easily explicable in hindsight, revolutions are typically unforeseeable, because key determinants of individual decisions to join protests are unobservable. Coupled with the interdependence of individual choices, unobservability ensures that many revolutions occur through cascades. Surveying research on the dynamics of revolutions, this article evaluates insights into the connections between the likelihood of protests and individual freedoms. Other findings include: that network structure shapes motivations to participate in collective action; that social media facilitate mobilization and also quicken the diffusion of information through pre-established networks; that using social media as a mobilization tool poses growing personal risks as regimes learn to monitor the internet; and that a revolution may trigger other revolutions by altering individuals’ expected payoffs around the world.

Keywords: revolution, protest, dictatorship, collective action, mobilization, cascade, preference falsification, social media, network, dissent

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