Universit├Ąt Z├╝rich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

Media Change & Innovation Division

Andreasstrasse 15
CH-8050 Zurich
Phone +41 (0)44 635 20 92
Fax +41 (0)44 634 49 34

Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for 20 years, Mubarak reigned in Egypt for 30 years, and Gaddafi held Libya in a tight grip for over 40 years. Yet their bravest challengers were 20- and 30-year-olds without ideological baggage, violent intentions or clear leaders. The groups that initiated and sustained protests have few meaningful experiences with public deliberation or voting, and little experience with successful protesting. However, these young activists are politically disciplined, pragmatic and collaborative. Where do young people who grow up in entrenched authoritarian regimes learn about public life and get political aspirations? Internet, mobile phones, and social networking applications have transformed politics across North Africa and the Middle East. In this lecture on digital media and the organization of social change in the Arab Spring, we examine various dimensions of emerging information infrastructure in North Africa and the Middle East and the global struggle to govern and manage their political impacts.