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

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords


  • References

    • Bashiryeh, H. (2011). Revolution and Political Mobilization. Tehran: University of Tehran.
    • Noormohammadi, M. (2012). The role of Social Virtual Networks in Tunisian Revolution. Qurterly Journal of Media, 22(3&4), 93-106.
    • Salehi, S. J., Farajzadeh, A., & Farahbakhsh, A. (2014). A Study of the Role of Internet in Social Movement of Egypt. Islamic World Studies, 1(3), 1-16.
    • Sardarnia, K. (2008). Political Effects of the ICT. Political & Economic Ettelaat, 22(5&6). 104-199.
    • Seyed Alavi, S. M. & Naghibosadat, S. R. (2012). Public Space in Cyberspace: Components of Virtual Public Space in the View of the Experts of Communication and Politcal Sciences. Quarterly Journal of Social Sciences, 19(57). 110-153.
    • Alianak, S. L. (2014). The Transition Towards Revolution and Reform: The Arab Spring Realised? Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.
    • Bayat, A. (2017). Revolution without Revolutionaries: Making sense of the Arab Spring. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
    • Bennett, W., & Segerberg, A. (2012). The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 739-768.
    • Castells, M. (2015). Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age (2nd ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press.
    • DeFronzo, J. (2015). Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements (5th ed.). Boulder, CO, Westview Press.
    • Della Porta, D., & Mattoni, A. (2015). Social Networking Sites in Pro-democracy and Anti-austerity Protest: Some Thoughts from a Social Movements Perspective. In D. Trottier, & C. Fuchs (Eds.), Social Media, Politics and the State: Protests, Revolution, Riots, Crime and Policing in the Age of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (pp. 39-63). New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Diamond, L. (2010). Liberation Technology. Journal of Democracy, 21(3), 69-83.
    • El-Nawawy, M., & Khamis, S. (2013). Egyptian Revolution 2.0: Political Blogging, Civic Engagement, and Citizen Journalism. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
    • Faris, D. M., & Meier, P. (2013). Digital Activism in Authoritarian Countries. In A. Delwiche, & J. Henderson (Eds.), The Participatory Cultures Handbook (pp. 197-205). New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Foot, K. A., & Schneider, S. M. (2006). Web Campaigning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    • Gelvin, J. L. (2015). The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    • Gerbaudo, P. (2012). Tweets and the Streets. London, United Kingdom: Pluto Press.
    • Gladwell, M. (2017). Small Change: Why the Revolution will not be Tweeted. In S. Cohen (Ed.), 50 Essays: A portable Anthology (5th ed., pp. 169-181). Bostn, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
    • Goodwin, J., & Jasper, J. M. (2015). Editors’ Introduction. In J. Goodwin, & J. Jasper (Eds.), The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts (3rd ed., pp. 3-7). West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley Blackwell.
    • Haunss, S. (2015). Promise and Practice in Studies of Social Media and Movements. In L. Dencik, & O. Leistert (Eds.), Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest: Between Control and Participation (pp. 13-31). London, United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield.
    • Herrara, L. (2014). Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popoular Insurrection and the Internet. London, United Kingdom: Verso.
    • Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. H. (2013). Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    • Khamis, S. (2017). Revisiting Cyberactivism Six Years after the Arab Spring: Potentials, Limitations, and Future Prospects. In N. Lenze, C. Shriwer, & Z. Abdul Jalil (Eds.), Media in the Middle East: Activism, Politics, and Culture (pp. 3-19). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
    • Lynch, M. (2014). Media, Old and New. In M. Lynch (Ed.), The Arab Spring Explained: New Contentious Politics in the Middle East (pp. 93-109). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
    • Moaddel, M. (2017). The Arab Spring and Egyptian Revolution Makers: Predictors of Participation. In M. Moaddel, & M. J. Gelfand (Eds.), Values, Political Action, and Change in the Middle East and the Arab Spring (pp. 205-247). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    • Morozov, E. (2011). The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. New York, NY: Public Affairs.
    • Salem, S. (2015). Creating Spaces for Dissent: The Role of Social Media in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. In D. Trottier, & C. Fuchs (Eds.), Social Media, Politics and the State: Protests, Revolution, Riots, Crime and Policing in the Age of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (pp. 171-188). New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Schuler, D., & Day, P. (2004). Shaping the Network Society: Opportunities and Challenges. In D. Schuler, & P. Day (Eds.), Shaping the Network Society: The New Role of Civil Society in Cyberspace (pp. 1-16). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    • Seib, P. (2012). Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
    • Trottier, D., & Fuchs, C. (2015). Introduction. In D. Trottier, & C. Fuchs (Eds.), Social Media, Politics and the State: Protests, Revolution, Riots, Crime and Policing in the Age of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (pp. 3-38). New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Tufekci, Z. (2017). Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Receive Date: 26 April 2022
  • Revise Date: 29 July 2022
  • Accept Date: 30 July 2022
  • First Publish Date: 30 July 2022