On Wednesday, March 9, 2:30 pm Lisbon time, Room D 012, the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Andrea Tesei from Queen Mary University to present his work on Mobile Internet and the Rise of Political Tribalism in Europe.
Building on recent evidence in and theories of social psychology focusing on online behaviour, we argue and provide evidence suggesting that mobile Internet has promoted offline “tribalism”, i.e., an enhanced sense of in-group membership and out-group animosity. We claim that, by affecting voters’ demands, this is a key contributing factor in explaining the rise and success of right-wing populist parties in Europe, characterized by platforms advocating closed vis a vis open-societies. Using geographically granular administrative data plus proprietary data on the spread of 3G and 4G technology covering 96% of European population over 11 years, we find evidence that around 40% of the rise in support for such parties can be attributed to mobile internet. We complement this evidence with survey data showing that mobile internet increased tribal attitudes, including outside the realm of salient policy dimensions.