By Tasniem Anwar (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences), Marlies Glasius (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences), Nermin Elsherif (Faculty of Humanities).
After a decade since the so-called “Facebook revolutions” emerged across the Arab Middle-East, a critical investigation of the roles, cultures, and subjectivities that surfaced on/through social media platforms is still missing. In this project, we aim to investigate to what extent did the social imaginary of these technologies change from tools of mobilization, to becoming sites of surveillance and “fake news”. How do different political actors appropriate the medium to disseminate their ideologies, including the creation of an atmosphere of confusion and distrust? What roles do social media platforms, states, and societies play in shaping online discourses? Bringing together approaches from political theory, cultural, and media studies, we investigate the relationship between social media platforms, states, and online publics. By examining a corpus of cultural texts – memes, videos, hashtags, and posts – that appeared over Egyptian social media throughout the past ten years, we aim to contribute to these questions.