Reverberations of the Arab Spring: Women’s Use of Information Technology in Morocco

  • Selena Irene Neumark Simon Fraser University

Abstract

How are women utilizing the capabilities of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the service of social and political transformation in the wake of the Arab Spring Uprisings? The structure of information flows on new media platforms have enabled activist groups to gain leverage in political systems and social contexts that otherwise marginalized them and this was never more apparent in the use of ICTs during the Arab Spring. However, Morocco continues to be a largely forgotten hub of revolution as researchers grapple with the systemic shifts observed in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Women’s rights movements in Morocco exploded in increased action, engagement and influence during the same period, largely by virtue of increased accessibility to and innovative capabilities of ICTs. Morocco’s movement for women’s rights and democratisation (gradualist movement) is a lesser-explored context of women’s heightened engagement since the Arab Spring and hence, the focus of this research. Women’s use of alternative civic spaces to organize and enact social and political change has resulted in global networks of activism that are changing the climate of the MENA as well as perceptions of it from elsewhere. The region, while often politically turbulent, is also characterized according to a single narrative in the West. The “resistance against communal norms†and broadening use of digital media as an extension to existing women’s voices (Robinson, 2014, p. ii) has helped disseminate critical knowledge on the importance of gender equity to democratic ideals. It has also put an emphasis on women’s public praxis in Morocco over their religious affiliations or domestic labour.

Keywords: new media, Morocco, activism, communication, technology, social justice

Published
2017-09-02
How to Cite
Neumark, S. (2017). Reverberations of the Arab Spring: Women’s Use of Information Technology in Morocco. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 9(2), 15-25. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/stream/index.php/stream/article/view/231
Section
Research in Brief (Peer-Reviewed)