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New Media and the Arab Spring


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Broad outline of Arab Spring dynamics and discourses, and how social media has played a role in mobilization.

Published in: News & Politics, Business
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New Media and the Arab Spring

  1. 1. New Media and the Arab Spring Alexander Hanna Department of Sociology October 4, 2011
  2. 2. AgendaNarrative of the Arab SpringFocusing on EgyptNew MediaWhats next?
  3. 3. Narrative of the Arab Spring
  4. 4. The Spark Tunisia   Mohamed Bouazizi  Sidi Bouzid  Ben Ali #sidibouzid
  5. 5. The Fuel Egypt  Khaled Said  Police Day
  6. 6. The Blaze... Libya  Bahrain Syria  … (Morocco, Algeria?) Yemen
  7. 7. Focusing on Egypt  January 25   January 28 and internet  blackout  Sustained occupation  of Tahrir and other  squares
  8. 8. New Media in Arab Spring Starting from Tunisia, mass attention paid in  Twitterverse  Not only from US and abroad, but also from other  Arab countries  Different roles of the medium (will get to in a  second...)  Includes Arab­centric media ecology  Al­Jazeera, Al­Arabiyya
  9. 9. Social Graph of @ifirka (Sami ben Gharbia) [source:]
  10. 10. A Big Ado About Social Media Malcolm Gladwell –  Small Change Jay Rosen – the generic  Twitter Cannot  Topple Dictators  article Is the ado about...  nothing?
  11. 11. Not if but how Zeynep Tufekci: There has been a false debate.  Was it social media or the people? Was it social  media or the labor movements? Was it social  media or anti­imperialist movement? Was it  social media or youth? These questions are  wrong and the answer is yes. The correct  question is how.
  12. 12. But how exactly? Citizen journalism  Internal and External Consensus Mobilization Action Mobilization
  13. 13. Citizen Journalism Internal  Egypts restrictive  media ecology External  International  solidarity  Forcing IR  community to pay  attention
  14. 14. Citizen Journalism In a dictatorship, independent journalism by  default becomes a form of activism, and the  spread of information is essentially an act of  agitation.
  15. 15. Consensus Mobilization Described by Bert Klandermans  Attempts to actively mobilize consensus in a  population Ideological work Frame alignment (Snow et al. 1986) Priming for action
  16. 16. Action Mobilization Other side of consensus – getting people to act Coordination and solving of traditional collective  action problems
  17. 17. What happened in Egypt? Initial sense based on interview fieldwork this  summer Coordination on January 25  Mutual assurance of protesting Post­Jan 25: citizen journalism Less consensus mobilization  Dont have to convince people that Mubarak is  terrible
  18. 18. Bottom line on social media Like everything,  depends on context  Media ecology  Access  Politics Contributes to specific  processes
  19. 19. Whats Next? Regime­building Still fighting in Syria, Yemen, et al. Social medias role in the future of Egypt?  Differing opinions: mobilization different from  building institutions
  20. 20. Thanks! http://alex­