'Butterflies taking down giants': the impact of Facebook on regime transformation in Sri Lanka

  • Samal Vimukthi Hemachandra

Abstract


This article examines the impact of Facebook on regime transformation in Sri Lanka, and in particular, that which occurred in the 2015 presidential election with the defeat of President Rajapaksa. Firstly, this article discusses how people on Facebook reflect on living under the Rajapaksa regime; and secondly, how they sought to achieve their life goals based on their experience vis-a-vis the state. In this regard, this research aims to combine three main fields in political science: radical politics, Facebook as a political tool, and dystopia; a combination that is unique in Sri Lankan studies. In particular, this examination draws from Facebook posts, videos, pictures and comments to understand anti-Rajapaksa discourse and emergent Facebook activism. Results suggest that people that felt powerless under the Rajapaksa regime articulated the Rajapaksa regime as dystopic. Facebook, in many respects, became a tool of escape, urging and convincing social network friends to vote against President Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election. Thus, this article reflects on 'butterflies who took down giants' through the use of Facebook.

Author Information

Samal Vimukthi Hemachandra

MA in Political Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

MA in Philosophy and Contemporary Critical Theory, Kingston University, London, The United Kingdom

BA in History, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Published
29-Jun-2017
How to Cite
Hemachandra, S. (2017, June 29). ’Butterflies taking down giants’: the impact of Facebook on regime transformation in Sri Lanka. The South Asianist, 5(1). Retrieved from http://www.southasianist.ed.ac.uk/article/view/1638
Section
Articles