Internet, Activism and Politics. The Repertoires and Rhetoric of Estonian Internet Activists

Peeter Vihma


The literature on political participation and activism has gained from introducing a new term: ‘sub- activism’, which is used to describe individual, mostly internet-mediated activism of everyday choices. Yet there is ongoing work dedicated to the question of how these everyday choices relate to other repertoires of activism. Why do people choose to participate in politics in one form rather than in another? This paper contributes to the field by analysing the rhetoric and repertoire of activists who are organised around two NGOs: the Estonian Pirate Party and the Estonian Internet Society. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, analyses of online materials, and 15 in-depth interviews, findings indicate that the choice of repertoire is strongly connected to the activists’ views on the internet, activism and politics. Most importantly, understanding what ‘politics’ stands for influences the choice of sub- activism as suitable or unsuitable action for these groups. These findings are then discussed in the context of East European ‘apolitical’ activism and civil society.


political activism, political rhetoric and repertoire, internet, sub-politics, East European non-political civil society

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