Strategies of Youth Social Protest on the Russian Internet (RuNet): a Comparative Analysis of Generations Y and Z
Keywords:social protest, Russian youth, generation Y, generation Z, motives of protest, Runet, problem-object localization, strategies, protest strategies
The focus of the article is to present a systematic study of the protest behavior and different strategies of Generations Y and Z. The problem under consideration can be examined in three dimensions: (1) through a motivational component of cognitive causes of protest behavior; (2) through psycho-emotional representations of youth protest which appear in social media; (3) particular forms of protest behavior on the web.
The theoretical framework of the study is drawn upon a combination of theoretical concepts and communicative and comparative methods as well as political and psychological techniques. The study design comprised three stages. The first and second stages involved an automated monitoring of social media using the Medialogia and IQBuzz systems. The second stage also included a remote survey on the specifics of the Russian youth protest behavior. Comparisons of the protest specifics of Generations Y and Z within the Russian Internet were drawn at the third stage.
The study shows that the key motivating factors behind social protest of the Russian young people are a lack of positive image of the future, a feeling of injustice in the existing social order, and their perception of the generalized state institution as corrupt and ineffective.
Five basic strategies of social protest at their early stage of formation were singled out: (1) unstructured, (2) terminal attributive, (3) frustration, (4) politically charged, and (5) locally oriented. Terminal attributive strategy is typical of Generation Z; frustration strategy is a characteristic of Generation Z; frustration and locally oriented strategies are popular with Generation Y. In case of a “virtual” protest both generations of the Russian youth stick to politically charged and unstructured strategies.
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