Latin American Struggles| Social Media and Virality in the 2014 Student Protests in Venezuela: Rethinking Engagement and Dialogue in Times of Imitation

Jairo Lugo-Ocando, Alexander Hernández, Monica Marchesi


This article examines the relationship between social media, political mobilization, and civic engagement in the context of the 2014 student protests in Venezuela. The study investigates whether these technologies were used by participants as a catalyst to trigger the protests and amplify them across the country or whether they were a galvanizing factor among more general conditions. The analysis uses cultural chaos and virality/contagion as theoretical approaches to discuss these events to provoke discussion about the relationship between protests and social media. However, far from a techno-deterministic assumption that sees social media as somehow having agency in itself, the authors highlight the role of social media as a platform for political engagement through imitation and emotions while rejecting false dichotomies of rationality/irrationality among the crowd.


Venezuela, protests, guarimbas, social media, Internet, Chavismo, dialogue, virality, contagion, cultural chaos, democracy

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