[Air-L] ISOC Statement on Egypt’s Internet shutdown

Aziz Douai azizdouai at gmail.com
Mon Jan 31 11:33:57 PST 2011


Hi everyone,

Morozow is provocative but too pessimistic.  Roger Cohen's "Revolutionary
Arab Geeks" had a nice rebuttal/assessment of his arguments (
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/opinion/28iht-edcohen28.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss).


While western mainstream media may be hyping up the role of social media,  I
do think that social media are playing a role in channeling decades of pent
up frustrations with autocratic regimes into the street.  Why haven't been
any mass uprisings in the region before this decade?  What is intriguing is
that political parties' role in these protests is virtually non-existent.
Foreign influence? The Bush administration's ill-fated democracy promotion
campaign failed to bring any tangible democratic change.

Keeping in mind that the largest majority of these protesters are young
people (at least at the beginning of the protests), a generation of "digital
natives,"  the connection between online media and offline movements needs
to be taken into account.  At the very least, social media appear to
facilitate a social contagion, from Tunisia to Egypt, facilitating something
similar to Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point."

It is always tricky and difficult to cogently theorize the connection
between the two (online protests and how offline movements lead to social
change.  Theoretical difficulties don't mean the absence of rational/real
connections.

Cheers,

Aziz





On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:45 PM, <elhamucla at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I am reading his book, net delusion. He is on the end of the spectrum: true
> that autocratic states use internet to suppress dissidents, but that's not
> the whole picture. Too pessimistic.
>
> Best,
> Elham gheytanchi
>
> Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mathieu ONeil <mathieu.oneil at anu.edu.au>
> Sender: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
> Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2011 18:06:10
> To: <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
> Subject: Re: [Air-L]
>  ISOC Statement on Egypt’s Internet shu
>  tdown
>
> Um, since no-one else brought him up: this guy E. Morozow sees what he
> calls the "Internet Freedom Agenda" as a kind of failed tool of the US
> government so in that sense the Western mass media would just be acting as
> the cheerleader.
> cheers
> Mathieu
>
> ps. See for example:
> http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/02/freedomgov?page=full
> And earlier:
>
> http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/26/think_again_the_internet?page=full
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: joana ro <joanaro at googlemail.com>
> Date: Monday, January 31, 2011 5:44 pm
> Subject: Re: [Air-L] ISOC Statement on Egypt’s Internet shutdown
> To: "Edward M. Corrado" <ecorrado at ecorrado.us>
> Cc: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
>
> > I wonder why Western media have overemphaiszed SM's role. What
> > good does
> > that do them?
> >
> > Does it simply make the story more accessible for its viewers,
> > give us
> > something in common? Obviously, it also fits nicely into a story of
> > emancipation through media/technology - which would be favorable
> > for other
> > media.
> >
> > Or is this a subtle way of suggesting that the West and its
> > emancipatorytechnologies are somehow responsible for what is
> > happening?
> > Best,
> > Johanna
> >
>
>
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-- 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aziz Douai, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Social Science and Humanities
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON   L1G 0A5

Tel: 905.721.8668 <tel:+19057218668>, ext. 3790
Fax:    905.721.3372 <tel:+19057213372>
E-mail: aziz.douai at uoit.ca
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"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring
it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both."  James
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