AbstractsPolitical Science

Street politics of Midan Tahrir

by Kumal Iqbal

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Digital media; Arab Spring; Social media; Street politics; Egypt; Midan Tahrir
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064815
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/26708


Five years ago, on December 17, 2010, a young Tunisian male, Mohamed Bouazizi, set fire to himself in frustration and anger. The frustrations and the anger were linked to his personal situation, having a higher education but no adequate job which was then linked to the overall socio-political situation in Tunisia. Tunisia, like most other Arab countries, was characterised by political repression and bleak economic prospects for the vast majority of the population. Nevertheless, Bouazizi suicide ignited popular protest movements in Tunisia and inspired uprisings in other Arab countries. One of the countries was Egypt where only 18 days of peaceful protests in Midan Tahrir in Cairo, resulted in the removal of the yearlong dictator President Hosni Mubarak. The project raises the question ‘why and how did the uprisings in Egypt’s Midan Tahrir take the form they did?’ It is argued that the protests were initiated and continued to be promoted by the information spread via the digital media. However, the project maintains that the surprisingly big followings during the 18 days of protest can only be understood on the background of massive frustration and discontent in the Egyptian population because of widespread political repression, combined with increasing poverty and bleak economic prospects for the population in general. The project argues that the protest movement of Midan Tahrir most adequately can be described as a non-movement characterized by so-called connective action making street politics. This type of action may be described as post-modern and not least weak in the long run because the participants only have one goal in common. Advisors/Committee Members: Pace, Michelle (advisor).