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Mobilization for change: the role of the networked public sphere in advancing civic participation and collective action in the Arab region

Networked technologies such as the Internet, social media, and mobile phones are increasingly important for sharing news and information, as well as for organizing collective action. News media reported on the crucial role that social media played during the Arab Spring. However, rigorous empirical assessments of the relationship between networked technologies and collective action are rare. Consequently, efforts to produce governance and political reform will benefit from a better understanding of how the networked public sphere affects civic and political life. This two-year research project will improve understanding of the role of the networked public sphere in political and social life in the Arab region. It will assess how the networked public sphere relates to civil society engagement in political and social action. This research will also improve capacity and contribute to scholarship in this area. Finally, by sharing knowledge and lessons learned with policymakers and civil society organizations, it will help these groups better understand the use of digital tools in fostering civic participation and collective action. This will affect policy initiatives, both in general and specifically, with respect to development-related matters such as education, health, and gender empowerment.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Raed Sharif
Total Funding
CA$ 494,000.00
Middle East
Networked Economies
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Project Leader
Nagla Rizk
The American University in Cairo
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Yochai Benkler
President and Fellows of Harvard College