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Young Generation AwakeningEconomics, Society, and Policy on the Eve of the Arab Spring$
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Edward A. Sayre and Tarik M. Yousef

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190224615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190224615.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 March 2021

The Role of Social Media in Mobilizing Political Protest

The Role of Social Media in Mobilizing Political Protest

Evidence from the Tunisian Revolution

(p.110) 6 The Role of Social Media in Mobilizing Political Protest
Young Generation Awakening

Anita Breuer

Oxford University Press

The Tunisian revolution of 2011 was supported by a broad coalition of social forces that united an intellectual elite with the rural poor and urban middle classes and initiated disruptive collective action to remove the authoritarian regime of Ben Ali from power. This chapter argues that information and communications technology, particularly social media, made a significant contribution to the formation of this coalition. Drawing on evidence from the popular protests in Tunisia between December 2010 and January 2011, expert interviews with Tunisian bloggers, and a web survey conducted among 608 Tunisian Facebook users, this chapter demonstrates that social media allowed a “digital elite” to form personal networks and circumvent the national media blackout; helped to overcome the “free rider” problem of collective action; and facilitated the formation of a national collective identity supportive of protest action against socioeconomic disparities.

Keywords:   Tunisia, information and communications technology, social media, collective action, protest action, collective identity

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