Journal Article

What's Going On?: Making sense of the role of the media in the Arab Uprisings



The article reviews recent scholarship on the role of the media in the Arab uprisings. After a summary of events, it sets out the debate between researchers who attribute a central and significant role to social media in the mobilizations that spread from Tunisia to Egypt and beyond in early 2011, and those who are more sceptical of such ‘techno-enthusiasm’. Different theoretical perspectives on the media and protest are then presented, followed by an overview of empirical approaches to the topic. It is argued that the impact of socialmedia must be viewed in relation to how they fit into widermedia ecologies and social and political structures.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Sociology Compass, Vol 9, Issue 7.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
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About the Author

Alexa Robertson

Alexa Robertson is Professor of Media and Communication studies and teaches on the Masters programme at IMS. An historian by training (with a B.A. from Stirling and an M.A. from the L.S.E), she moved to IMS after many years at the Department of Po... Read more


Robertson, A. (2015). What's Going On?: Making sense of the role of the media in the Arab Uprisings. Sociology Compass, 9(7), pp. 531-541. Available at: [Accessed 23 Sep. 2019]. doi: 10.1111/soc4.12278.