Award Date

12-1-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Committee Member

Dennis Pirages

Second Committee Member

David Damore

Third Committee Member

Michelle Kuenzi

Fourth Committee Member

Gary Larson

Fifth Committee Member

Kathryn Hausbeck Korgan

Number of Pages

82

Abstract

The Internet and social media have become a pervasive part of our global environment over the last few decades, utilized primarily for commerce, communication, and entertainment. The last several years, however, have seen an increase in the application of social media in political discourse and activities, primarily in developed democracies and autocracies. Does that mean social media can influence democratic transition and consolidation in the 21st century? Are the examples of the Green Movement in 2009 and the Arab Spring in 2011 a validation of social media in service to democracy, or is social media also a tool for surveillance and disruption by autocratic states? This paper examines, through case selections of four countries, the use of social media during protests in Iran and Egypt, and the use of social media as possible instruments of democratic consolidation in Nepal and South Africa.

Keywords

Democratization; Democracy; Egypt; Internet and activism; Iran; Nepal; Political participation; Social Media – Political aspects; South Africa

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Political Science | Politics and Social Change

Language

English


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