Mark A. Peterson on Media and Social Change in Egypt
Via new blog Media and Social Change
In February 2008, 27-year old human resources specialist and El-Ghad Party volunteer Israa Abdel Fattah launched an invitation in Facebook for Egyptians to support the 2008 Mahalla Worker’s Strike. Thousands responded and the April 6 Youth Movement Egypt was born. When she was arrested, hundreds of Facebook users replaced their profile pics to show her face, and the furor across social media was picked up by international media, and apparently led to her release. Social media—with its capacity to link in otherwise unconnected individuals around a common discursive effort—became a powerful new tool in the arsenal of a protest movement that had been growing at least since 2005
In the Egyptian revolution, media practices are being transformed every day. Yet these media are also vehicles of social change. How shall we, as media anthropologists, understand something like this?