Ctrl-alt-revolt? Online and offline networks during the 2011 Egyptian uprising

Elizabeth R. Nugent, Chantal E. Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analyses of the 2011 Egyptian uprising assign a significant mobilizing role to the interpersonal networks created through Facebook and Twitter. However, these studies fail to investigate online networks in comparison with more traditional "offline" networks, which are similarly theorized to mobilize members to protest participation. In this pa-per, we analyze nationally representative Arab Barometer survey data from Egypt 2011 to compare the mobilizing effects of memberships in four different types of networks: online, union, community, and religious. We test whether these networks were distinct and operated in competition, or overlapping and operated in tandem to mobilize Egyptians to protest. We demonstrate that different networks mobilized different segments of the population, consistent with theories about the negative revolutionary coalition necessary for successful uprisings. We also show that multiple network membership increases protest propensity, and that individuals at the intersection of online networks and community group networks, such as those formed through membership in charity groups or sports clubs, are most likely to engage in revolutionary protest. These results speak to an important interactive effect between online and offline networks in terms of facilitating successful revolutionary uprisings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-90
Number of pages32
JournalMiddle East Law and Governance
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Keywords

  • Arab spring
  • Civil society
  • Online networks
  • Political science
  • Protest mobilization
  • Social media
  • Twitter

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