The role of the new online social media and the Arab Spring: what is actually inside the puzzle?
Sofia José Santos
(Centre for Social Studies - University of Coimbra)
Paper short abstract:
This paper questions the romanticised perspective of the role New Online Social Media played in the Arab Spring by identifying the different agencies making use of them (local and international), their synergies with conventional media and the way they get articulated with offline political processes.
Paper long abstract:
Analyses on the uprisings and democratization processes taking place in the Arab region, since December 2010, have claimed the centrality of the New Online Social Media (NOSM) in the organization of the protests, identifying them as the crucial actor in propagating and mobilizing the people to contest the repressive political regimes in power. However, this perspective on the NOSM tends to be highly romanticised, neglecting to explore the different national and international actors which in fact make use of the NOSM, as well as the articulations and linkages with other instruments of mobilization. . This paper aims to analyse the role the NOSM in the recent Arab uprising and democratization processes by (1) identifying and analyzing the different agencies making use of the NOSM; (2) exploring the articulation between online and offline political processes; (3) understanding the synergies between conventional media and NOSM; and (4) exploring the NOSM as a platform for international intervention.
Contestation and political change: exploring patterns across borders and regions