Stern Program for Undergraduate Research

Closed On: 01-28-2014
Research ID: RS000091
Research Title: Meu Rio: The Social Impact of Online Collective Action
Description: Over the last decade, a new form of collective action has emerged, one that uses a combination of online organizing and real-world action to coordinate large numbers of people, enabling them to grasp and influence issues important to them. Examples include MoveOn, Avaaz, GetUp! and AllOut.

The research project, conducted in collaboration with Purpose (a fascinating consulting firm that "engineers" 21st century grassroots movements), will study Meu Rio, an ongoing collection of online movements aimed at ensuring that citizens of Rio de Janerio benefit uniformly from the massive infrastructure investments being made by the city for the 2014 soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Currently, one in 50 adults and teenagers in Rio is a member of Meu Rio, and they have had many successes in rationalizing neighborhood changes and construction plans.

The goals of the project are to use data and context from Meu Rio to gain a clear understanding of the differing and complementary roles that online organizing (signing petitions, posting messages, tweeting followers) and real-world activities (physical gatherings, house parties, community meetings) play in making collective action influential; the situations in which they are complementary rather than conflicting; and the factors that cause different combinations to succeed.
Relevant Areas of Study: Global Business
Pre-requisites: An interest in the social impact of business and technology; some familiarity with social media. An understanding of Brazil would be helpful but is not essential.
Start Semester: Fall 2013
Credits Per Semester: 1.0
Faculty Member: Arun Sundararajan (
Department Affilation: IOMS
Contact: Arun Sundararajan (
Expired On: 07-01-2014