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#EndMaleGuardianship: women’s rights, social media and the Arab public sphere.

Thorsen, E. and Sreedharan, C., 2019. #EndMaleGuardianship: women’s rights, social media and the Arab public sphere. New Media & Society, 21 (5), 1121-1140.

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Thorsen and Sreedharan - EndMaleGuardianship (Accepted Manuscript).pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


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DOI: 10.1177/1461444818821376


This study examines the online communicative dynamics between women and men during the Saudi women’s rights campaign to end male guardianship, which unfolded on Twitter. We analysed 2.7 million tweets with the #EndMaleGuardianship hashtag over a 7-month period quantitatively and 150,245 of these qualitatively to examine the extent to which Twitter shapes and facilitates cross-gender communication, and how this helped engender new spaces for expression of dissent. Our study shows that Twitter provided shared online communicative spaces that had several characteristics commonly associated with public sphere(s). There is also evidence that using these alternatives spaces, women transcended to an extent the gender segregation that exists in traditional public discourses and spaces of Saudi society. The anonymity of Twitter offered women a safe place to deliberate their concerns about male guardianship. We suggest that these deliberations created a counterpublic sphere of sorts, which helped Saudi women legitimise the #EndMaleGuardianship campaign.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Arab online public sphere; counterpublics; Arab women’s movement; human rights; Saudi Arabia;
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:32410
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Jun 2019 15:41
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:16


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