Disaffection, Anger, and Sarcasm: Exploring the Postrevolutionary Digital Public Sphere in Egypt
This article explores the digital public sphere in Egypt through a 3-pronged investigation. First, we examine the media sphere from an institutional point of view. Second, we undertake a qualitative analysis of comments left on popular news pages on Facebook. Third, we discuss the findings of 30 semistructured interviews with young people in Cairo. Our results indicate that the media system is characterized by increasing control that has now extended online, whereas the social media space is dominated by religious personalities and entertainment. Turning to the public, we found that most comments mobilized anger and insults or were ironic and sarcastic. Finally, the interviews point to a disillusionment with both the political sphere and the role of social media. Disaffection is therefore taken to represent the specific structure of feeling found in the postrevolutionary Egyptian mainstream digital public sphere, with publics appearing alienated and unwilling to engage politically.