The Role of Information and Communications Technologies in Migrants from Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

Authors


  • I thank Francesca Ghidini, RAI TGR Campania, who kindly opened doors to National RAI journalists active in Lampedusa. I offer special thanks and appreciation to Carlo Ruggiero and Flavia Paone, RAI 3 and RAI TGR 3 Sicily, Lidia Tilotta, Marco Sacchi, and television producer Pippo Prestigiacomo. Fabio alerted me to every new event and included me in their tours. Also thanks to Silvia Resta and Francesco Marzullo of La 7 TV. Warm thanks to journalist Francesco Marzullo for his availability and interest in my work. Credits and thanks also go to Grazia Buccaro who donated many photos.

Abstract

The role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in the Arab Spring of 2011 has been widely discussed in the popular media, but has received little scholarly attention. This paper presents the results of field work carried out at the Italian island of Lampedusa in March 2011, which investigated migrants' use of the Internet and mobile communications technologies while still in their North African countries of origin, and the influence of ICTs on recent democratic movements there. Empirical work proved that the use of digital social networks helped to break migrants' isolation, spread information and indignation, and virally coordinated demonstrations. The paper stresses the role of emotions and affect in this process, injecting these into regional analysis.

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