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Peer Reviewed Scholarship

Digital Activism: Efficacies and Burdens of Social Media for Civic Activism

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.

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The Discourse of Egyptian Slogans: from ‘Long Live Sir’ to ‘Down with the Dictator’

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.

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Mubarak Framed! Humor and Political Activism before and during the Egyptian Revolution

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.

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Navigating the Ethics of Citizen Video: The Case of a Sexual Assault in Egypt

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.

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