The Role of Web 2.0 in the Arab Spring

Robert A. Cropf (Saint Louis University, USA), Mamoun Benmamoun (Saint Louis University, USA) and Morris Kalliny (Saint Louis University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 108
EISBN13: 9781466641051|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2515-0.ch004
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The Arab Spring seemed to give a renewed sense of promise to proponents of Web 2.0 as a force for democratization. However, a year on, throughout the Arab world the prospects for democracy are still far from certain. Our conclusion, based on an examination of the events in four countries—Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, and Libya—is that Web 2.0 collaborative tools are without parallel in their ability to mobilize vast numbers of the public. Unknown, however, is whether Web 2.0 can also assist in institutionalizing democracy throughout the Arab world. In this study, the authors adapt the path dependency model of Douglass North and others to explain why, despite the huge popularity of Web 2.0 in the region, the growth of Arab e-democracy will be slow and uncertain. Path dependency suggests that in order for e-democracy to eventually take root and thrive in the region, certain preconditions must be met.
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