Communicating Contentious Politics: Social Movements and Networked Communication in the Arab World

Thursday November 30, 2017

Interest in social movements in the Arab World piqued following the so-called Arab Spring and heralded a series of publications, some of which focused exclusively on the digital media. While the digital media has certainly allowed civil society “to survive, deliberate, coordinate and expand” as Manuel Castells succinctly put it, focusing exclusively on cyberspace is wholly inadequate as it overlooks socio-political factors, displaces agency and overlooks other forms of communication from the traditional media to interpersonal communication.

This project will bring together scholars working in the fields of networked communication and social movement research in both Lebanon and the region. Papers will probe the public self-representation of these movements, the manner in which they frame their claims, communicate with the polity, and how they are perceived. This project will also look at both contemporary and historical movements ranging from the communicative strategies of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the workers’ movement in pre-civil war Lebanon to the “hashtagable” You Stink movement that erupted in Lebanon in 2015.