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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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13 Collective Memory: The Rise of Global Memories



Collective Memory: The Rise of Global Memories

This chapter explores the theoretical paradigm of collective memory in the field of media and communication and considers how the whole concept of collective memory is challenged when looking at the Arab uprisings. It discusses some of the Western cultural and ideological frames that were adopted and used by non-Western social protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings. The chapter makes a case that it was because of the emergence of social media that we have started to witness the formation and sustainability of global collective memories, rather than national and local ones. In this context, the chapter discusses the rise of the Internet and social media-based anonymous movements and the use of wider cultural icons to engage global audiences. The chapter also provides evidence of similar global memory themes that were utilized by later social movements such as: the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States (2011), Gezi Park Protests in Turkey (2013) and protests in Brazil against the country’s government corruption and spending before the world cup (2013). This chapter asserts that the information age continues to redefine existing media, communication and cultural approaches such as the concept of collective memory. I further argue that any current or future protests will utilize collective memory themes that are more global than local in nature because of social media and its outreach to global audiences. In other words, the social movements of the digital age utilize “glocal” ←195...

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