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Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in Egypt

Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in Egypt
David Faris

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During the Arab uprisings of early 2011, which saw the overthrow of Zine el-Abadine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the role of digital media and social networking tools was widely reported. With tens of thousands publicly committed to public protest through their online social networks, and with calls to protest circulating through email networks, Facebook groups, and street organizing, the activists had set in motion a staged confrontation with the Egyptian regime, of the sort that had previously been unthinkable. The potentially subversive nature of social networks was also recognized by the very authorities fighting against popular pressure for change, and the Egyptian government's attempt to block internet and mobile phone access in January 2011 demonstrated this. What is yet to be examined is the local context that allowed digital media to play this role: in Egypt, for example, a history of online activism has laid important ground work.

Here, David Faris argues that it was circumstances particular to Egypt, more than the 'spark' from Tunisia, that allowed the revolution to take off: namely blogging and digital activism stretching back into the 1990s, combined with sustained and numerous protest movements and an independent press. During the Mubarak era, where voicing a political opinion was - to say the least - risky, and registering as a political party was onerous and precarious undertaking, it was online avenues of discussion and debate that flourished. Over the course of those years, digital activists - bloggers and later, users of other forms of social media like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube - scored a number of important victories over the regime, over issues largely revolving around human rights. Faris analyses these activists and their online activities and campaigns, examining how the internet was used as a space in which to create identities and spur action.

Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age tracks the rocky path taken by Egyptian bloggers operating in Mubarak's authoritarian regime to illustrate how the state monopoly on information was eroded, making space for dissent and for those previously without a voice.

Author Info

David Faris is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University, where he teaches Egyptian and Middle Eastern Politics. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Pennsylvania University.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Modern Middle East Studies

ISBN: 9781780761503
Publication Date: 30 Mar 2013
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 216
Width: 134

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