VIRTUAL UPRISINGS: Tahrir Square, Social Media and the Return of Public Space – Fri 19/6/15

This talk analyzes the geography of uprisings in the so-called “Arab spring” with a focus on the relationship between virtual and physical geographies. It is concerned with the spatial and temporal dimensions of the urban uprisings with a particular attention to the interwoven relationship between social media that organize political gatherings and communicate political messages; the practices of protest in urban space; and the global and national media coverage of the events in an attempt to enhance our understanding of social movements in the 21st Century. Tahrir Square, a very complex urban space with a particular architectural history in Cairo, is used a main case study. The protest movement’s use of this urban space is interrogated, and from this emerges the finding that the reciprocal interactions between social media, urban space, and traditional media coverage, does not simply reproduce the relations between these actors, but it also transforms them incrementally.

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