The revolutionary public sphere: The case of the Arab uprisings

Marwan M. Kraidy*, Marina R. Krikorian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The popular rebellions that swept Arab countries starting with Tunisia in December 2010 spawned an active sphere of dissenting cultural production. Although media harnessed by revolutionaries include public space, graffiti, street art, puppet shows, poetry, songs, cartoons, digital art, and music videos, many analyses have focused on social media as digital platforms. Social media and mobile telephones introduced a new element to political activism, but the focus on technology provides a partial understanding of activist communication. A more comprehensive picture of dissent in the Arab uprisings requires us to understand how revolutionaries have represented themselves and how various media, digital and otherwise, were incorporated in these communicative processes. In other words, we need to focus on the myths, ideologies, and histories that inspired slogans, murals, and poems and made them socially relevant and politically potent—of the creative permutations of symbols, words, images, colors, shapes, and sounds that revolutionaries deployed to contest despots, to outwit each other, to attract attention, and to conjure up new social and political imaginaries. Together, the articles in this Special Issue accomplish just this task. Originally presented at the inaugural biennial symposium of what was then the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication in 2013, the articles you are about to read exemplify one of the fundamental principles undergirding the institutional mission of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication: a robust dialogue between theoretical advances on one hand, and deep linguistic, cultural, historical knowledge of the world region under study, on the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalCommunication and the Public
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab uprisings
  • cultural production
  • public sphere
  • revolution
  • revolutionary publics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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