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Expat-ing Democracy

Dissidents, Technology, and Democratic Discourse in the Middle East


Nir T. Boms

Taking Syria and Iran as case studies, this book explores how expatriate groups have used tools such as technology and new media to influence political discourse and to irrevocably alter the political dynamics both in their home countries and in the Middle East at large. Based on over 60 in-depth interviews with dissidents, expat leaders, journalists and researchers from Syria and Iran that were conducted both before and after the Arab Spring, the author examines the tripartite relationship between technology, dissent and democratization. This approach offers a unique perspective on contemporary geopolitics in the Middle East and considers possible scenarios for the future of the region.
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Chapter 4: Analysis


This book attempts to analyze the influence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on democratization and democracy discourse in the Middle East, with a focus on the work of expatriate groups who utilize ICT to advance political reforms and democratization discourse focused in Syria and Iran. As noted earlier, over 60 in-depth interviews were conducted during the Delphi and pre-Delphi process with relevant area experts, expat leaders, journalists and democratization activists.1 The research questions deal with the role and influence of ICT on the democratization discourse in the region; with the utilization of ICT by expat groups as a means of communicating messages; with the penetration, reception and influence of these messages; and with the framing of this expat effort as a “civil society” effort. The timing of the research immediately preceded the Arab Spring and hence, some of the statements described need to be understood with this timeframe in mind.

The following questions were asked:

The analysis below reflects the main findings gathered from the core Delphi process reflecting 50 in-depth interviews. ← 173 | 174 →

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