Rebecca S. Robinson            AUSACE   Atlanta, Georgia November 19, 2012
 Arab Spring created a media hailstorm but  nations that did not achieve complete  revolution were overlooked Morocco of...
 Lead  author’s ethnographic research 2007-  2009: employed participant observation,  content analysis, interviews, and s...
 Significant  social, economic, political, religious, linguisti  c, and ethnic distinctions DD not so much the binary of...
 “Homophily”   reaffirms that interest of group  are most important issues (Farrell 2012) Blogoma presents as a unified ...
 Bloggerspart of media landscape so clearly free speech important part of movement    Not directly affected by poverty, ...
 Started  as networking community in 2004 but  began to exhibit solidarity of a collective,  especially surrounding censo...
 Feb  20 resonates w/ Blogoma initiatives:  parliamentary monarchy free from arbitrary  rule and special favors (grima) ...
 Why   did the protests not result in revolt? 1st: Alaouais have maintained popularity--  1,200 yo dynasty descends from...
 4th:middle class dubious of the ability of the  lower classes to participate in democracy  (Tourabi 2011) Blogoma/Feb 2...
 Majority   of Moroccans voted for change  through PJD Islamic-oriented political parties have  offered services for yea...
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Arab Spring in North Africa: Still Winter in Morocco?

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By Rebecca S. Robinson, Arizona State University, presentation for AUSACE 2012

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Arab Spring in North Africa: Still Winter in Morocco?

  1. 1. Rebecca S. Robinson AUSACE Atlanta, Georgia November 19, 2012
  2. 2.  Arab Spring created a media hailstorm but nations that did not achieve complete revolution were overlooked Morocco offers an interesting case study for social media researchers Examine why OCA of Blogoma failed to explain how event would unfold Argument: Fragmentation of society manifests online and off. Collective action frames of the Blogoma failed to resonate with the greater population.
  3. 3.  Lead author’s ethnographic research 2007- 2009: employed participant observation, content analysis, interviews, and surveys This research oriented us to the primary concerns of the bloggers: civil liberties and freedom of speech, govt accountability Updated in 2012 through the discussions of many of the same informants and they oriented us to new blogs Examined dozens of blogs in English and French (Feb 20, referendum, elections)
  4. 4.  Significant social, economic, political, religious, linguisti c, and ethnic distinctions DD not so much the binary of un/linked (Selwyn 2004; Graham 2011) but similar societal divides manifest off/online or are exacerbated (Farrell 2012; Couldry 2012)  Linguistic divide: even lower classes with access may not contribute to Blogoma  Arabophone bloggers, at times from divergent socio-economic backgrounds, less likely than Francophone to cover Mourtada and Erraji arrests
  5. 5.  “Homophily” reaffirms that interest of group are most important issues (Farrell 2012) Blogoma presents as a unified front although societal fragmentation prevalent Diagnostic frames identified in earlier research: expand liberties and free speech through govt accountability Prognostic frame: parliamentary monarchy Benford and Snow (1988) salience and credibility most important
  6. 6.  Bloggerspart of media landscape so clearly free speech important part of movement  Not directly affected by poverty, illiteracy, lack of services that preoccupy majority of population, which impedes salience Regime started campaign to discredit protesters/bloggers as inauthentic Moroccans and called upon the true ones to uphold sacred institutions through voting  PJD not implicated in past corruption so able to maintain credibility unlike bloggers/protesters
  7. 7.  Started as networking community in 2004 but began to exhibit solidarity of a collective, especially surrounding censorship issues: Google Earth, YouTube, Mourtada, Erraji Less success in influencing politics (abstention/anti-PJD in 2007 elections) Success in social initiatives: BlogonsUtile! and Gaza relief 1st survey: 18:21 said censorship issues were most important 2nd survey: 42 unanimously said Moroccans should be able to debate sacred institutions
  8. 8.  Feb 20 resonates w/ Blogoma initiatives: parliamentary monarchy free from arbitrary rule and special favors (grima) Some linkages theoretical, others clear  Former informant, Hisham Almiraat, co-founder of Mamfakinch—covers protests Feb 20 viral YouTube video offers various reasons for protesting: freedom, equality, better living standards, education, labor rights, minority rights (Lalami 2011) Regime responds w/ subsidies, jobs, reforms
  9. 9.  Why did the protests not result in revolt? 1st: Alaouais have maintained popularity-- 1,200 yo dynasty descends from Prophet, Moroccans inculcated with inseparability of God, state, and monarchy (Roumana 2011), regime scapegoating 2nd: King central to stability—April Marrakech bombing (M4C 2011)—against militants, used to squelch assembly (Hogan 2011) 3rd: part-time protesting (Imad 2011), movement splintering (37 orgs) (M4C 2011)
  10. 10.  4th:middle class dubious of the ability of the lower classes to participate in democracy (Tourabi 2011) Blogoma/Feb 20 reject integration of religion into politics not likely to have voted for PJD, which has managed to avoid scandals PJD promises to reduce poverty, increase wages, and fight corruption (Cabalmuse 2011), which are more concrete than Blogoma/Feb 20’s abstract ideas of liberties Majority believe that PJD can reform system
  11. 11.  Majority of Moroccans voted for change through PJD Islamic-oriented political parties have offered services for years (Cohen and Jaidi 2008) Not likely concerned PJD’s rumored changes: liquor sales, co-ed beaches, promoting hijab Coalitions integral to effective politicking (Almiraat 2011)—hopefully expected change will be realized The Arab Spring has not passed Morocco by: it is in hibernation for the winter

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