Profiling Insurrection: Characterizing Collective Action Using Mobile Device Data

53 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021 Last revised: 10 Mar 2021

See all articles by David Van Dijcke

David Van Dijcke

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Austin L. Wright

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Date Written: January 31, 2021

Abstract

We develop a novel approach for estimating spatially dispersed community-level participation in mass protest. This methodology is used to investigate factors associated with participation in the ‘March to Save America’ event in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. This study combines granular location data from more than 40 million mobile devices with novel measures of community-level voting patterns, the location of organized hate groups, and the entire georeferenced digital archive of the social media platform Parler. We find evidence that partisanship, socio-political isolation, proximity to chapters of the Proud Boys organization, and the local activity on Parler are robustly associated with protest participation. Our research fills a prominent gap in the study of collective action: identifying and studying communities involved in mass-scale events that escalate into violent insurrection.

Keywords: insurrections, protests, riots, collective action, big data, cellphone, mobile devices

Suggested Citation

Van Dijcke, David and Wright, Austin L., Profiling Insurrection: Characterizing Collective Action Using Mobile Device Data (January 31, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3776854 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3776854

David Van Dijcke

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ( email )

2350 Hayward Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Austin L. Wright (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1307 E 60th St
Chicago, IL IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.austinlwright.com

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