'We Feel Fine' : Big Data Observations about State Institutions and Social Inclusion Lemieux, Victoria L., 1963-
On December 17th, 2010, a Tunisian fruit vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi took a can of gasoline and set himself on fire in front of the local governor’s office. Bouazizi’s actions resulted from having his fruit cart confiscated by local police and his frustration at not obtaining an audience with the local governor; his death is said to have sparked what we now know as the “Arab Spring.” The events leading up to and during the Arab Spring raise questions of what causes citizens to protest against their governments? Theorists from different disciplines have put forward many explanations of such events but in this project, Dr. Lemieux discusses her work leading an international research team investigating the relationship between social protest and citizen trust. Though motivated by the Arab Spring, the study focuses on protests during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Football Event that took place in Brazil from 12 June – 13 July 2014. The study is an exploratory one in which the team has drawn upon public administration and political science literature relating to trust in government, as well as from literature on social protest theory from social psychology and sociology. Operationalizing the construct of trust in the study as a measure of the sentiment expressed in the content of twitter data, the team built a tool for and conducted a visual analysis of sentiment classified Twitter data to derive insights about the following research questions: 1) how did citizens feel about their state institutions around the time of the protests, 2) how did these feelings connect to their sentiments about Brazilian Federal and State Government and politicians and 3) how did such sentiments translate into collective behaviours? The results of the study reveal that the 2014 World Cup protests in Brazil sprang from a wide range of grievances coupled with a relative sense of deprivation compared with emergent comparative ‘standards’. This sense of grievance gave rise to sentiments that activated online protest and may have led to other forms of social protest, such as street demonstrations.
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