Share this

Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring, Philip N. Howard and Muzammil M. Hussain

Reviewed by Jennifer Earl

BUY

 

The role of digital media in the Arab Spring is one of the most hotly contested subjects in the study of contemporary social movements and revolutions. On the one hand, journalists and onlookers eagerly cast these conflicts as sudden shifts that represent Twitter or Facebook revolutions. On the other hand, many Western activists and social movement scholars bridle at a starring role for digital media, leading to strident denials. Philip N. Howard and Muzammil M. Hussain’s study implies that both sets of claims are wrong: digital media played a much longer term role in creating favorable conditions for uprisings, helped to publicize key igniting events, and then facilitated those uprisings and their diffusion; but digital media did not do this alone or as suddenly as some observers have claimed.

The story of the Arab Spring, according to Howard and Hussain, began over a decade ago as Internet access and mobile phones began to diffuse rapidly through North Africa and the Middle East. Although Internet adoption rates vary in the region, the most likely adopters are young, educated, urban citizens, and wealthy elites. The authors argue that these individuals are critical audi­ences for rulers, making the flourishing of online civil society in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain far more t

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

North Korea and the West

The Debate over North Korea
VICTOR D. CHA AND DAVID C. KANG

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS