The Arab uprisings of 2011 triggered a wave of discourse on media and social movements. As interest grew, so did questions about the scope and impact of media, particularly new media, on the events that unfolded. In the three years since the upheaval began, AMS has been home to robust analysis of events from across the region. In the pages of this special print edition you will find a selection of articles primarily from our archives. For more information, including how to acquire a copy, please click the title link.
In keeping with our retrospective theme, our latest issue revisits events of the last several years and asks questions about the media's role in the region moving forward. Read the Fall 2014 Issue below!
In an entertaining and insightful read, Deepa Anagondahalli and Sahar Khamis delve into the world of Egyptian political humor, unpacking its historical roots and reflecting on its evolution from private banter to public resistance. Focusing on Mubarak’s presidency and subsequent ouster, the authors identify a stark shift from long narrative jokes, to the biting “weaponized” one-liners that emerged in his final days. Humor, they conclude, is a paradoxical yet powerful tool for activism, which despite more recent crackdowns has proven to be a relatively safe platform for dissent.
Social Media in Syria’s Uprising and Post-Revolution Libya: An Analysis of Activists’ and Blogger’s Online Engagement
Masudul Biswas and Carrie Sipes perform a comparative content analysis of Twitter and Facebook posts from a sample of Syrian and Libyan activist groups. By considering online content in the context of post-revolution Libya and the continuing upheaval in Syria, the authors shed new light on online activist agenda-setting. They find that while social media is used as a tool to maintain and expand momentum during revolution, in a post-revolution climate the same media serves as a venue for idea-sharing and political discourse.
El Mustapha Lahlali investigates the power of political slogans in Egypt. By revisiting the discourse of early 2011 and surgically analyzing the linguistic content of a wide array of slogans, Lahlali offers new insight into the political, social and religious undercurrents that reverberated through the country during this time. Lahlali points to a period characterized by the democratization of discourse, which he argues, disappeared as rapidly as it emerged.
In a comprehensive study of social media usage among social movement organizations in Lebanon, Jad Melki and Sarah Mallat investigate the efficacy of digital technology as a tool for activism. The authors find that while social media platforms offer a number of perceived benefits to activism work, there remain significant obstacles that manifest both on and offline.
Using video of a sexual assault in Tahrir Square as a case study, Madeleine Bair discusses the ethical and logistical considerations of citizen video as a means for social documentation. Bair points to the emergent challenges including reliability, consent, preservation and security, as citizen videos are sourced with increasing regularity by both new and traditional media. The Egyptian video, which sparked national change and international outrage, is a striking example of how citizen video can both shine light on an issue and stir controversy.
As part of an ongoing body of literature on audiovisual translation in the Arab World, Muhammad Y Gamal examines barriers to localization in an increasingly digital world. Gamal posits that closing the regional gap and developing local expertise requires a multi-pronged approach, targeting both pedagogy and practice.