The Arab Spring| Media Ecologies, Communication Culture, and Temporal-spatial Unfolding: Three Components in a Communication Model of the Egyptian Regime Change

Eike M. Rinke, Maria Röder


Discussion of the events of early 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt in Western publics has been largely unstructured and characterized by an undue preoccupation with new media. In light of this, the aim of this paper is twofold: to learn from these regime-changing processes in order to understand them, and to inform a nascent model of political communication in contemporary Arab societies more generally. We start by proposing some critical steps for giving structure to present and coming attempts at understanding the course of events, focusing on those in Egypt. They involve giving greater attention to three heretofore neglected components of a prospective communication model of the Egyptian regime change: the media ecologies, communication culture, and temporal-spatial unfolding of events. After a brief discussion of these, we offer several personal on-the-ground observations from the starting days of the revolutionary movement in Cairo to give flesh to the analytical structure we propose, and provide starting points for coming inquiries into the role of communication for anti-authoritarian movements in the Arab world.

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