The 32nd European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) looks at the latest information science research. This year, the theme is “People First: Constructing Digital Futures Together.” By gathering a diverse group of scholars, ECIS 2024 seeks to pave the way for a digitally empowered future that aligns with human goals and tackles significant challenges. In today’s era of significant technological progress, the conference aims to examine how we can shape the evolving tech landscape while ensuring it benefits society. This theme highlights the necessity of aligning technological advancements with the improvement of human lives and inclusivity through collaborative efforts. 

ECIS is the primary conference of the Association of Information Systems for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The conference strives to create a collective understanding of our roles in this evolution, ensuring digital advancements also consider ethical, social, and cultural aspects. It is a prestigious event for information systems academics and practitioners to discuss critical and innovative issues in the field. The theme envisions technology as a tool for positive and equitable progress.

From 13 to 19 June 2024, the 32nd ECIS conference was held in Paphos, Cyprus. There Dr. Nitin Agarwal presented the research titled “Solidarity to Storming: Assessing the Socio-technical Factors behind Modern Social Movements”. He along with Sayantan Bhattacharya and Billy Spann authored the study. This study examines the formation of collective identity in online social movements, focusing on the political protests during past Brazilian and US presidential elections. The research employs quantitative socio-computational approaches to analyze the formation of collective identities and resource mobilization—building upon the basis of resource mobilization theory (RMT) and moral foundation theory (MFT). 

This research is notable in that it studies collective identity formation and collective action—the processes in which people come together to identify and act as a group—in a way unlike past collective action theory research that has relied on surveys or interviews. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods and network graphing, they study the cohesion of groups over time, discovering the moral resources associated with anti- or pro-government protest groups. 

Specifically, the findings reveal an increase in sympathetic support among anti-government groups and a rise in loyalty and solidarity among pro-government groups as the respective protest events approached. The study demonstrates that the online networks became increasingly cohesive, highlighting the importance of narrative alignment in mobilizing support and resources. The results underscore the role of moral resources in shaping the dynamics of social movements. The paper concludes that the successful mobilization of resources and the formation of collective identity are crucial for the success of social movements. It suggests that future research should continue to explore the socio-technical factors that influence these dynamics, with a particular focus on the ethical implications of resource mobilization in online environments. 

Dr. Agarwal said, “This study contributes to our collective action framework to study coordinated social processes such as protests. Our methodology furthers the development of theory-driven indicators that can be used by decision makers to monitor, track, and forecast emerging collective action events.”