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New technologies, new identities, and the growth of mass opposition in the Arab spring

McGarty, C., Thomas, E.F., Lala, G., Smith, L.G.E. and Bliuc, A-M (2013) New technologies, new identities, and the growth of mass opposition in the Arab spring. Political Psychology, 35 (6). pp. 725-740.

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The recent revolutions known as the Arab Spring have been characterized as the products of social media. However, there is an alternative view that revolution takes place on the street or the battlefield and that the role of social media has been overstated. We argue that some new technologies can serve to facilitate rapid social change when they provide ways to overcome restrictions on the freedoms of expression and association. In doing so, communication technologies enable the formation of new social identities that can challenge existing social orders by promoting the growth of a social movement that is positioned as loyal to the nation and its people but opposed to the government. Our analyses focus on the role of social media in spreading video images of dissent and the links between this video material, satellite television, and mobile telephones in Tunisia and Egypt.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2013 International Society of Political Psychology
Notes: Online 19 August 2013
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