Social movements and network analysis: the case of Tunisia digital activism before and during the Arab Spring (2010-2011)
Author: Laura Perez-Altable, email@example.com
University: Pompeu Fabra, Spain
Supervisor: Prof Javier Diaz-Noci
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: English
Areas of Research: Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change , Communication, Knowledge and Culture
This thesis aims to bridge social movement studies with media and communication studies, taking the case study of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and combining quantitative and qualitative approach. Methodologically, this thesis integrates social network analysis with qualitative content analysis and semi- structured interviews. The main objective is to give an account Tunisia’s digital network before and during the Arab Spring, along with its relationship with the social movement that characterized the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Overall, our research has identified a series of dynamics which determine the patterns of diffusion of information through digital networks. Our findings demonstrate that this networks tends to be highly participatory, but that it is also hierarchical, showing a power- law distribution. Nevertheless, this type of power distribution allows much information to spread quickly and reach a wide audience. Moreover, our study shows that the combination of online and offline networks was essential for the success of the Tunisian uprising.