The Impact of Social Media on Revolutions: From Structural Stimulation to Refolution

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Regional Studies, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran


After the recent Arab uprisings, a great number of analyses have been proposed on the impact of social media on revolutions, which lack a comprehensive view of all stages of revolutions, particularly what happens after the collapse of the ruling regimes with regard to the establishment of new political orders. This research considers the impact of social media in all stages of revolutions and offers a consolidated explanation, regardless of objective cases. In response to question of the impact of social media on revolutions, the authors explain that social media, by developing activists’ network, serve as a structural stimulus in the beginning of an uprising before the street protests. However, these networks lack the required capacities to lead the new political order and may result in a refolution. This descriptive-analytical research, analyses the role of social media in developing activists network according to Castells’ theory, the structural stimulation of uprisings by social media according to the views of Tufekci regarding the causes of revolutions, the incapability of activists’ networks to lead the new order based on the refolution theory of Bayat, develop and consolidate these views and theories.


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  • Receive Date: 26 April 2022
  • Revise Date: 29 July 2022
  • Accept Date: 30 July 2022
  • First Publish Date: 30 July 2022