Re-Interpreting Internet Activism: A Study of Its Relationship with the Nature of State Introduction

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With the increasing number of protests mobilised through social networks, the Internet is coming to be seen either as a force of liberation or as the new generation’s “cyber-utopia”, creating unfounded optimism and hopes of emancipation. The former view claims that social networks play a key role in shaping debates about protests and in spreading democratic ideas around the globe (especially in the case of Arab Spring).The latter view advocates that the role of internet has been exaggerated in the narratives of these protests because the very working class which fuelled the revolution did not have access to these technologies. This view suggests that it is not Facebook or Twitter that has brought about these revolutionary changes but…show more content…
Considering the political climate and the nature of public participation before and after the advent of internet activism, this paper suggests that there is a strong correlation between the nature of the state (comprising of the ideologies of the regime and its people), internet activism and its outcomes. Drawing from theoretical frameworks and linking it to incidences of digital age protests around the world, this paper argues that the question of internet activism contributing to the evolution of the process of public participation can be answered holistically only if the nature of the state is taken into account. Middle East It is with the Arab Spring that the advent of internet activism was acknowledged worldwide. For the first time, the internet was used in mass mobilization of the citizenry To illustrate further, in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, citizens have made effective use of social networks to catalyse the revolution. The success of the Egyptian revolt should also be attributed to the lack of opposition from the military and the elite (who succumbed under the social and economic pressure) in addition to the

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