DIGITAL POLITICS AND POLITICAL DECAY IN WEAK STATES: THE EXPERIENCE OF ARAB REVOLUTIONS

Document Type : Research Paper

Author

Assistant Professor; Department of Political Sciences, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

The digital revolution as a great transformation is leading to the formation of new spaces for the political action. This paper was intended to criticize the viewpoint which would uncritically consider digital politics to be the bedrock for the creation of general area and the formation and establishment of democracy finally. In contrast to this optimistic approach, the experience of Arab revolutions indicated that both digital tools and social networks caused various impacts during the different phases of such experiences. The impacts were quick and severe when the Arab authoritarian regimes started to collapse, and they dwindled away in the formation phase of the alternative democratic system. Finally, the capabilities of such networks were misused as a tool to spread the ethnic and religious hatred and to escalate violence. It has been argued that the diversity of results caused by the promotion of digital politics in various states had to be analyzed as a consequence occurring when the social structure and certain politics of each society would face this phenomenon. According to the theory of "weak states-strong societies", it was demonstrated how the structural weakness of states and a completely dispersed and incoherent society in the Middle East had to be considered the key to understanding the quick and severe impact of the digital politics in the collapse phase of Arab authoritarian regimes. It was also indicated why such tools would become the factors intensifying the process of political decay in such countries when their revolutions were derailed.

Keywords


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Volume 46, Issue 3
October 2016
Pages 709-726
  • Receive Date: 16 November 2015
  • Revise Date: 02 November 2016
  • Accept Date: 10 January 2016
  • First Publish Date: 22 September 2016