The BIT-ACT team presents on the challenges of online activism at the ECPR 2021

The ECPR 2021 General Conference will be held online between 31 August and 3 September 2021

Researchers from the BIT-ACT project will present their most recent work in two panels at the ECPR 2021 general conference, to be held online from 31 August to 3 September 2021.

At the panel Democracy Research in the Digital Age, Alice Mattoni presents the paper “Anti-corruption (digital) technologies, citizens participation, and the quality of democracy”.

Mattoni’s work draws on a cross-country comparative research project that analyzes 9 case studies in 9 countries in Europe, Latin America, North Africa, and South Asia. More specifically, the paper relies on a dataset that includes documents related to the 18 case studies, including in-depth interviews with the activists involved in the creation of initiatives against corruption. These initiatives put at the center different types of digital media that are created and managed by activists themselves.

In addition, the panel “Rethinking contentious politics in a time of pandemic: The challenges of online activism in authoritarian regimes and fragile democracies”, chaired by Ester Sigillò (Università di Bologna, BIT-ACT) and Layla Baamara (Institut d'Études Politiques Aix-en-Provence), includes four papers, three of them co-authored by the BIT-ACT team. The presentations will discuss the role of the Internet and social media in shaping contentious politics in four different countries — Egypt, Bangladesh, Brazil, and Algeria — by drawing on the most recent challenges caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. 

This panel aims to overcome a normative and linear interpretation of the role of the internet and the usage of digital media. Its goal is to analyze the dark sides of digital politics in those contexts characterized by high politicization, where a diversified ecosystem of socio-political actors wish to influence the political order, this panel discusses the issues of digital authoritarianism and the politicization of anti-regime and/or anti-corruption mobilizations in highly conflictual environments. Julia Rone (Université Libre de Bruxelles) is the discussant and this panel is part of the ECPR 2021 section "Mobilizing in a Polarized World: Social Movements and Political Participation in a Global Pandemic". 


ECPR 2021 panel “Democracy Research in the Digital Age


  • Anti-corruption (digital) technologies, citizens participation, and the quality of democracy by Alice Mattoni (Università di Bologna)


ECPR 2021 panel “Rethinking contentious politics in time of pandemic: The challenges of online activism in authoritarian regimes and fragile democracies”


  • Social Media Outrage on Fake COVID-19 Tests: Corruption and Contentious politics during the ongoing Pandemic in Bangladesh by Anwesha Chakraborty (Università di Bologna) and Moiyen Zalal Chowdhury (University of Liberal Arts)
  • The “dual-use” of Digital Media Platforms: Digital Economies and Sexualities in Egypt by Sara Soumaya Abed (ALC) and Bassant Hassib (The British University in Egypt)
  • Citizens and their bots sniffing corruption: benefits and limitations of using digital media to expose politicians who misuse public money in Brazil by Fernanda Odilla (Università di Bologna) and Clarissa Veloso (Federal University of Recôncavo da Bahia)
  • Hirak in time of Covid-19: mobilizing from the streets to the digital space in Algeria by Layla Baamara (Institut d'Études Politiques Aix-en-Provence) and Ester Sigillò (Università di Bologna)

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash