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12. Freedom technologists and protest formulas in Egypt

December 20, 2014

This is the twelfth instalment in the freedom technologists series.

CONNECTED in CAIRO

What can formulaic expression tell us about media and social change? To study technology users rather than technologies, says John Postill in a recent article. What can formulaic expression tell us about media and social change? For one thing, to study technology users rather than technologies, says John Postill in a recent article.

There’s a new article out from John Postill in the latest issue of Convergence that may be relevant to the study of the roles digital media played (and continue to play) in the Egyptian revolution.

John’s project is to study the relationship between Internet activism and post-2008 protest movements generally.

John does not look at Egypt, alas. Instead he draws on his own anthropological fieldwork in Spain, and on secondary literature about uprisings in Tunisia and Iceland.

Key to his analysis are two new terms he has coined: ‘freedom technologists’ and ‘protest formulas’:

  1. Freedom technologist refers to social actors who combine technological and political skills to pursue greater Internet and democratic freedoms (which they typically see as inextricably linked).
  2. Protest formulas refers to the unique compound of societal forces…

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