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Movements for Change

How Individuals, Social Media and Al Jazeera Are Changing Pakistan, Egypt and Tunisia

Rauf Arif

This book explores social media as an alternative channel of communication and resistance in Pakistan, Tunisia and Egypt, and argues that the term "Arab Spring" limits the scope of acknowledgement for the ongoing online and offline political uprisings in the Muslim World, which started beyond the geographical boundaries of the Middle East. Beginning with an exploration of the pivotal role of Al Jazeera and how it used social media content from protestors to make the uprisings a global conversation, this book takes readers through an overview of creative political protests in each of the three case countries, before delving into an in-depth examination of a specific icon that sparked each revolution in question, and an overview of social movements and the politico-cultural context in each country. In closing, this book offers an understanding on how the new collective memories of nations using social media to protest will affect future generations who are striving to rise against authoritarian regimes, including the Algerian Spring that is ongoing in 2019.

This book can appeal to a wide range of audiences, both inside and outside the academic world. Within academia, courses covering topics such as social media, social movements, comparative politics, Middle Eastern studies and global communication could use this book as a learning tool. In non-academic settings, journalism practitioners could benefit from this book to examine how social media can be an alternate media in the absence of traditional media, and how traditional news media outlets can collaborate with and utilize social media to perform their journalistic duty in oppressive regimes.

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Part V What Happens Now?

Extract

Part V

What Happens Now?

The final part of this book is based on two chapters. Chapter 13, Collective Memory: The Rise of Global Memories, revisits the idea of collective memory in the field of media and communication and makes a case that the collective memory paradigm, which used to be a community, country or a culture specific approach, is now shifting. It is because of the Internet and associated social media tools of human communication that we are witnessing a new era of global memory themes, which are not static, but continue to be reshaped on digital media platforms. This phenomenon is resulting in the rise of global social movements where the idea of a Collective We is no more about the experiences of people located in a region or a country, but about the experiences of digitally connected global citizens.

Chapter 14, Aftermath of Online Activism in Pakistan, Egypt & Tunisia, is the concluding chapter of this book. After summarizing some of the common themes that were witnessed during the political unrests of the three countries, Pakistan, Egypt and Tunisia, the chapter looks at the most recent political uprisings of Sudan, Algeria and Morocco, and how these are connected to the previous movements of Pakistan, Egypt and Tunisia. The chapter puts forward an idea of flash social movements to better understand and study the changing dynamics of collective action on social media platforms. The chapter then concludes by providing a new model...

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