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Rural Egypt and the public sphere: the effect of social media and the new media environment on political interaction, 2011-2015.

Aly, S. M. I. M., 2020. Rural Egypt and the public sphere: the effect of social media and the new media environment on political interaction, 2011-2015. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

A large body of academic research has developed regarding the prevalence of social media in society, and its impact. Previous research has delved into this topic from the perspective of psychology, business administration, sociology, politics, law, and media communication studies. One common thread among many that can be found in a large number of these academic endeavours is the attempt to evaluate the manner in which social media impacts norms, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours. This thesis investigates this same topic through an analysis of rural citizens in Egypt in the period between 2011 and 2015. The main topic addressed in this thesis is the impact of the new media environment, specifically the synergy between social media and satellite television, on the public sphere and political interactions of rural Egypt, with the aim of assessing the role social media played in the neglected areas of Egypt during the 2011 uprisings. To do this, this thesis addresses (i) the effect of social capital on the political interaction of citizens in the public sphere with a consideration of social media access, (ii) how social media changed individual norms of political interaction within the public sphere of rural Egypt during and after 2011 due to convergence with television media, and (iii) how media coverage of the uprisings impacted micro public spheres and sentiments of empowerment and social capital in rural Egypt. It is found that rural Egypt contributed significantly to the 2011 uprisings, and their 2013 counterparts. Social capital among the rural population is shown to have had a marked effect on the development of the 2011 uprisings, as well as their success. Through primary research and supporting data, it is shown that there were four distinct stages of media use during the period of the 2011 uprisings that, when analysed, highlight that social media could not have been the primary determinant of the uprisings and their aftermath. While social media did play a role, it was not the driving factor behind the uprisings. Issues such as economic, linguistic, and infrastructural barriers prevented social media penetration from being significant enough to be the driving force it has been considered by some academics. Moreover, the state’s decision to cut Internet access early on in the timeline of the uprisings highlight that other factors were at play. Finally, the four stages of media contribution bring to light the expansion of rural Egypt’s social capital during this time, and show that this played a stronger role than had been previously thought when evaluating the 2011 uprisings. As such, other factors - social capital, interaction norms, and the public sphere - are evaluated given the findings on social media’s role.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Egyptian uprisings; social media; rural Egypt
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:34414
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:07 Aug 2020 13:42
Last Modified:07 Aug 2020 13:42

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