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Abstract

Social media has come to play an important role in social movements like the Arab Spring, civil society, and contentious politics. Politicians, militants, advocacy groups and leaders have utilized social media as an important platform for communication. Yet, the impact of social media on the politics of insurgencies is not understood too well. I look at the insurgency in Kashmir and make use of Twitter data to understand this neglected phenomenon, and ask: How does social media, specifically Twitter, impact militancy in Kashmir? More specifically, what are the characteristics of this new digitally enabled militancy? Recognizing that social media is increasingly changing and becoming endogenous to the local contexts, I provide a framework for understanding the key mechanisms through which social media affords new possibilities to the landscape of militancy in Kashmir: 1) network formation through low-stakes participation, 2) affect-laden narrative building and 3) potential recruitment. The unexplored data available on Twitter presents a unique opportunity to study the influence of social media on militancy in Kashmir.

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