image description

Fellows 2017


University of St. Gallen

Bucerius Fieldwork Grant

Digital Disruptions. Determinants and Effects of Internet Disruptions in Electoral Autocracies in Africa


For a long time, new forms of communication and organization of advocacy groups were considered to be an important step in overturning dictators across the world. Particularly with regard to the Arab Uprisings, scholars have pointed out the role of social media in providing the opposition with new opportunities to organize protest and broadcast dissident voices. However, many regimes have developed strategies to use the Internet for purposes of control. They learned to respond to the regime-threatening characteristics of the Internet and developed sophisticated measures to control data traffic. This project systematically investigates conditions, under which non-democratic governments disrupt access to the internet, specifically acknowledging the role of the ownership of Internet service providers and political institutions.

Lisa Garbe is a Ph.D. candidate and research fellow at the university of St. Gallen. She has earned an M.A. in European Studies from the University of Leipzig and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Freiburg. Her research interests include democratization processes, comparative politics, and the political dimension of information and communication technologies. She is currently a visiting Ph.D. researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute for the academic year 2019-2020.


Articles in Refereed Journals
2018: ‘Blocking the Bottleneck: Internet Shutdowns and Ownership at Election Times in Africa’, International Journal of    Communication, with T. Freyburg

2019: ‘Droughts, vulnerability and human migration in Northern Ethiopia’, Regional Environmental Change, with K. Hermans

Book Chapters
2018: ‘European Citizen Science Landscape: A Snapshot’, in: S. Hecker, M. Haklay, A. Bowser, Z. Makuch, J. Vogel, A. Bonn (eds.) Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy, UCL Press, with S. Hecker and A. Bonn

Online Publications
2018: ‘Blocking the Bottleneck. Internet shutdowns at election times in Sub-Saharan Africa’, The Open Technology Fund, with T. Freyburg, 30 Nov 2018

2018: ‘Exporting Repression? China’s AI push into Africa’, Council on Foreign Relations, with A. Gwagwa, 17 Dec 2018

back to list Fellows 2017