A Discourse Analysis of the Media Representation of Social Media for Social Change - The Case of Egyptian Revolution and Political Change

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A Discourse Analysis of the Media Representation of Social Media for Social Change - The Case of Egyptian Revolution and Political Change

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title A Discourse Analysis of the Media Representation of Social Media for Social Change - The Case of Egyptian Revolution and Political Change
Author(s) Bardici, Minavere Vera
Date 2012
English abstract
Recent years were marked by a major transformation in human and social communication, owing to the advances in ICT and thus social media technologies. Social media have introduced new communication practices, provided newfound interaction patterns, created new forms of expressions, stimulated a wide civic participation, and so forth. They are rapidly evolving and their significance is increasing while their role is changing in social and political processes. Moreover, they are increasingly becoming an instrumental approach to, and power for, social change due to their potential in bringing new dynamics to its underlying processes such as public mobilization. Indeed, more recently, they played an important role in what has come to be known as the Arab Spring. Particularly, in the recent Egyptian revolt, social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have been transformed into effective means to fuel revolt and bring about political transformation. This marked a victory for social media and corroborates that they are an enduring resource for the successful mobilization of bottom-up, grassroots movements and leaderless collective actions. This, in turn, has stimulated discussions about their impact on political change, giving rise to a new discourse, what might be identified as ‘social media for social change’. This discourse is gaining an increased attention in the media and the academia: many journalists and authors talk and write about it. Particularly, research and publications by journalists emphasize the fundamental role the online media play in the reproduction of the role of social media in the Egyptian revolution and political change. The aim of this study is to establish, by means of a discourse analysis, how and with what purpose in mind, the online media report on – represent – the relationship between social media and the Egyptian uprising and political transformation, a social relationship that seems to be overstated and constructed in various ways by different journalists. This critical reading reveals what is undervalued, overvalued and excluded, as well as the intersection between the media discourse, subjects and ideology. To achieve this aim, the discourse analysis approach was used to examine the set of selected media texts. The media representation is deterministic as to the role of social media in the Egyptian revolution and political transformation, i.e. it exaggeratedly depicts the power of social media by describing the Egyptian revolution as a Facebook revolution. It also tends to be rhetorical and exclusionary. The event of the revolution and the reality of political change in Egypt are far more complicated than how it is reconstructed by most journalists. Further, it plays a role in constructing a positive image of different corporate players, namely Facebook, Twitter and media companies, as well as in constituting their identities. A great highlight is given to represent these actors. In addition, the media representation does ideological work. It sustains and serves corporate power as well as advances ideological claims. This discursive research enhances the current understanding of the phenomenon of social media in relation to revolution and political change, although the findings may not be generalizable.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 60
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Social media, Egyptian revolution, Egyptian political change, social change processes, discourse analysis, media, representation, ideology, Facebook, Twitter, citizens, activists, Egyptian
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/14121 (link to this page)

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