Revolution, modernity and the Arab Spring
Embargo Lift Date: 2020-07-20
Cafnik Uludağ, Petra
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This dissertation critically examines how linguistic and discursive practices in global media discourses devalorize the revolutionary implications of the so called Arab Spring. By using media framing analysis it approaches the global media’s construct of the Arab Spring as a revolutionary event in three steps. First, it analyzes framing and usage of the name Arab Spring, showing how the name itself implies two defining characteristics of the events: the Arabness and the Springness. Second, it focuses on the universal conception of revolution, questioning its relationship with Western modernity that affects the way global media approach and represent non- Western revolutions. Third, it compares global media practices with local media practices, highlighting how Eurocentric understanding of the events affects media reporting in global news outlets. The thesis finds that regional, cultural, and political peculiarities of the Arab Spring affected global media’s reporting. When the global Western media approached the revolutions in the Arab world, the Arab Spring was not just a name; it became a condensation of political and social contexts that provided the meaning for the events. Western media has conceptualized the Arab Spring as a regional Arab event, a temporary awakening, that can suddenly turn into a suppression of will and progress. Further on the concept of revolution as used by the media failed to explain the events: first, because the concept is defined by its own Western identity; second, because it is defined with its own understanding of modernization and progress that is specific to the European context.