The role of social media in facilitating minority mobilisation: The Russian‐language pro‐war movement in Germany amid the invasion of Ukraine
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Title / Series / NameNations and Nationalism
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AbstractThis article examines the mobilisation of minority groups along ethnic and national lines through social media, an area that has not been fully explored. The study analyses the case of Russian‐speaking minority members who were mobilised in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 via the messaging app Telegram. By taking a bottom‐up perspective, the article reconstructs the pathways of the actors in these mobilisation processes and draws upon diverse literature in digital nationalism, social movements and media studies. The study suggests that social media facilitates minority mobilisation through three primary functions: It allows for the reproduction of ethnicised and racialised boundaries and homogenisation within ethnicised echo chambers and provides a ‘window of opportunity’ for micro, meso and macro levels of actor engagement in facilitating offline mobilisation. Overall, this article provides a theoretical foundation for understanding how social media enables and enhances minority mobilisation and introduces novel empirical data on the emerging pro‐war movement prevalent on Telegram and in offline networks of the Russian‐speaking minority in Germany. The study contributes to the developing field of user‐generated nationalism and highlights the need for more bottom‐up research on emerging patterns of online ethnicised mobilisation.
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