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Title: Social media after the revolution : new political realities and everyday network practices in the context of Tunisia (2011-2013)
Author: Amor, Cyrine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 5185
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This research examines issues raised by social media's depiction, over recent years, as source of civic empowerment and radical socio-political change. The intensely publicized role of social networking sites at the onset of the 2011 Arab uprisings has served to support at times overly linear perspectives on the relationship between new media technologies and socio-political change. Debates in the field have been limited by an over-emphasis on strategic and instrumental use of social media by political and cyber-activists to achieve pre-determined political outcomes. Less is currently known about the perspectives, experiences and motivations of more ordinary users as they learn to navigate politicised online spaces and to participate in the production, mediation and dissemination of content on social media. This research revisits Tunisia, the country where the Arab uprisings first started, to provide an inter-disciplinary exploration and contextualization of these questions, and of how everyday social media practices may relate to users' knowledge of, engagement with, and participation in a shared public and political world. The study focuses on developments in the country between January 2011 and December 2013, with specific focus on the social networking site Facebook, as it dominates social media use in Tunisia during this transitional period. By juxtaposing qualitative analysis, quantitative elements, and a chronological dimension, research findings highlight the complexity of social media's rapidly evolving role, from perceived source of civic empowerment, to contributor to social tensions and political polarization in the country. The research argues that the communicative conditions provided by social media, in this context, facilitates civic encounters and political communication, but equally that, by making individual and collective socio-political identities and positions more publicly visible and fixed, social media use also reinforces differences and undermines sociality, engendering complex negotiation processes and adaptive participative practices over time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral