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From Arab Street to Social Movements: Re-theorizing Collective Action and the Role of Social Media in the Arab Spring

Author:

Mohamed Ben Moussa

McGill University, Montreal, Canada
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Abstract

On 10 February 2010, Wael Ghonim, a prominent figure of Egypt’s 25 January movement, tweeted ‘mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians.’ The message became viral, not only on the micro-blogging and other social media platforms, but throughout mainstream media outlets. Western media reports were all keen on highlighting Ghonim’s job as Google executive, and the pivotal role of digital media, from the Google search engine to social media, in bringing about this ‘happy ending’ to the first ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ revolutions. Of course the mission was far from accomplished; nearly one year after Mubarak was forced to step down, Egyptian militants are still trying to keep the flame of the revolution alive and burning by reoccupying Tahrir Square in Cairo in their pitched battles against the military junta running the country. Criticizing the overzealous praise of the role of social media in the Arab spring, Harvard professor Tarak Barkawi (2011) pointed out that these grotesque claims smack of eurocentricism because they credit the revolutions to ‘western’ technology rather than to the peoples of Egypt and Tunisia:
How to Cite: Ben Moussa, M., (2013). From Arab Street to Social Movements: Re-theorizing Collective Action and the Role of Social Media in the Arab Spring. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 9(2), pp.47–68. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.166
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Published on 01 Apr 2013.
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