Fibreculture Journal (2012-07-01)

FCJ-147 Liberation Technology and the Arab Spring: From Utopia to Atopia and Beyond.

  • Ulises A. Mejias

Journal volume & issue
no. 20
pp. 204 – 217


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While the tendency in the West to refer to the Arab Spring movements as ‘Twitter Revolutions’ has passed, a liberal discourse of ‘liberation technology’ (information and communication technologies that empower grassroots movements) continues to influence our ideas about networked participation. Unfortunately, this utopian discourse tends to circumvent any discussion of the capitalist market structure in which these tools operate. In this paper, I suggest that liberation technologies may in fact increase opportunities for political participation, but that they simultaneously create certain kinds of inequalities. I end by proposing a theoretical framework for locating alternative practices of participation and liberation.