The Arab Spring| Nextopia? Beyond Revolution 2.0

Albrecht Hofheinz


Research on the impact of the Internet in the Middle East has been dominated by a focus on politics and the public sphere, and oscillated between the hope for ‘revolutionary’ change and the admission that regime stability in the region has not easily been unsettled by media revolutions alone. Obsession with the new and with the latest technologies has helped to obscure more long-term sociocultural developments. This contribution is a plea for a shift of paradigm: to study more seriously the social and cultural effects of internet and mobile phone use; to find out what impact the use of these media has on conceptions of the individual and its role in the construction of knowledge and values; and how these dynamics are embedded in more long-term historical developments promoting a greater role for the individual vis-à-vis established authorities.

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