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Title: The role of Facebook and Twitter in generating social and political change during the 'Arab Spring' uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt
Author: Mesawa, M. T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 9319
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2016
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The ‘Arab Spring’ refers to the protests and revolutions that spread across a number of Middle Eastern and North African Muslim countries during late 2010/early 2011. Grounded on the main theoretical framework of the public sphere (along with the complementary theories of technological determinism and technical and cultural appropriation) the aim of this research was to investigate the role of Facebook and Twitter in generating social and political change during the Arab ‘spring’ uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt. Findings from a series of semi-structured interviews with key individuals in both countries offer some support for the validity of these three theories by suggesting that social media worked as an effective public sphere for activism, as well as being a communicative/organisational tool that generated some social/political changes. Nonetheless, this research suggests that the effectiveness of social media began to wane very early into the uprisings. Although this weakening was relatively slow in the more secular Tunisia where the highly westernised youth continued to use social media as a public sphere to discuss political issues, the speed of its demise was far more rapid in the more Islamic Egypt where the traditional public sphere (especially the mosques) and face-to-face communication became more important in driving on the uprising. This implies that although social media played an important role in helping to generate the uprisings in 2010/2011 and in helping to bring some social and political changes, it is not particularly effective in the long-run following regime repression, violence, and media censorship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available