Abstract

The followers/leaders, participation/leadership division is less obvious in Networked Social Movements than in traditional movements. Participants in these movements, adhering to egalitarian principles, seek to emphasize the absence of leaders, which has led some to characterize the movements as “leaderless.” This article interrogates that perspective through a critical review of these interpretations and myths, as well as the autonomous leadership theory proposed by Simon Western. After demonstrating the existence of hierarchy in Networked Social Movements, the article then focuses on the leaders of the Networked Social Movements, considering their specific characteristics in comparison to traditional leaders, and discussing the influence of new technologies on these specific characteristics.

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