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Art is Resistance: The Role of the Artist in the Arab Spring and other Uprisings

Producing image activism after the Arab uprisings Published: September 20, Photo by James Losey. Amahl Bishara discusses the "Permission to converse" project.

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By Florencia Enghel. Media and Communication Studies , Journalism. Last updated: September 20, More Articles. Nov A few days before the centenary of the end of the First W Read more. Oct The chapter on the diplomacy of cyber-dissidence also offers an exploration of the role played by the US in both tarnishing and supporting an emergent political blogosphere in Europe.

Arab Politics beyond the Uprisings: Experiments in an Era of Resurgent Authoritarianism

Khatib, Lina. London: IB Tauris, Though this book is not explicitly about the Arab uprisings, the second half of it focuses on images of contestation during the uprisings. Based on fieldwork in the Arab world and Iran, this is a rich analysis of the growing role of images, both on small handheld signs, social media and large billboards and murals scales in Middle East politics. Based on extensive fieldwork, it arrives at its insights into the visual by looking across cultural forms that may at first seem disparate, such as television and street art.

As a whole, the book widens the scope of analysis, putting the politics of images in the uprisings in a broader context. Kraidy, Marwan. This book queries the centrality of the body to the uprisings, offering an alternative perspective to predominant foci on social media and media institutional transformation. This clears ground for a less media-centric account of cultural practices in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria that engage the political in registers of both gradual reform and radical change.

Sakr, Naomi. Transformations in Egyptian Journalism. The book explains how the growth of a diversity of journalistic approaches also led to a flux in norms and news values. Zayani, Mohamed. The focus on the Tunisian context in this text allows for a sustained, in-depth engagement with the political context and processes related to the Tunisian revolution of Zayani succeeds in narrating digital media in its rich context, therefore managing a fine line between celebration and dismissal of the impact of digital communication.

Considered together, the books we selected constitute a multidisciplinary spectrum of approaches to communication and the Arab uprisings in particular, and to revolutionary mediation and activism more generally.

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One of our primary criteria was to focus on books that identify the proper role and influence of media technologies. We believe the books above to have successfully navigated this issue by integrating technology in its proper political, economic, social and cultural entanglements. We also believe that most, if not all of these books, speak to communication and political change at large, beyond the context of the Arab world.

While we consider the works above essential readings on the media and the Arab uprisings, our selection is obviously a temporally and linguistically, since we stuck to English-language sources limited snapshot of knowledge production. Tunisian Music.

Rap in Tunisia has been very popular for a very long time, even at the time where Bin Ali was still reigning the country. Nevertheless, then it was very hard for Tunisian rappers to rap freely or write their lyrics expressing their opinions freely, they were limited back then to writing about unemployment and social injustice without referring to the regime.


After overthrowing his autocratic system, there became a great liberty for rap artists in communicating their ideas and ideologies freely, with no barriers of certain topics or censorship. Tunisian musicians say that they are not people who can express themselves on usual or orthodox platforms offered by their government, such as the media or the press, and so music with all its genres, is one of their untraditional means of expressing their ideologies on the past regime and on the current one, and it will definitely still be their case for the future ruling powers of Tunisia.

He has however gained public support from all the nation, as controversial as Tunisian rap is, people admire it as it presents to them the long lost voice of the Tunisian streets that has long been oppressed by autocratic regimes. Tunisian Movies. Furthermore, documentary movies thrived since the revolution, and their presence could not be neglected. To conclude, it is clear that all these different forms of art have lately become of great importance to the Arabs, as they go hand-in-hand with the rebellious actions of revolting, writing, and boycotting, just to name a few.

As this universal visual language of communication and self-expression is becoming more and more popular in the Arab World, it is slowly becoming a substitute for the media and the press, as the censorship on these is becoming greater and greater. Art became a weapon for the people, and is becoming widespread and popular among the youth, as they are realizing its strong political effect.

WR150: "The People Want": Art and the Arab Spring

The role of the artist in the Arab revolutions is to raise more awareness through visuals, as it is a universal language understood not only nationally but also internationally, from the west. Art is the best tool of communication as it is effective and understood by the world, it is a universal language that the Arabs should not give up on.

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Skip to main content. Sign In. Egyptian Revolutionary Art All forms of art affected the Egyptian revolution, from poetry to movies reflecting the oppression Egypt has come to as well as the different street graffiti, all was vivid and of huge impact for rebels.

Egyptian Poetry Many poets have had an influence before and after the revolution, the most known poet is the late Ahmed Fouad Negm. Egyptian Graffiti Graffiti is street art that is not restrained to drawings but includes writing. Egyptian Movies Before the revolution, many directors and actors were worried about the situation the country is going for, as cinema and television are not only for entertaining but also for reflecting the reality of different societies.

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Tunisian Revolutionary Art Just as the revolutionary art movements have evolved in all the Arab countries in which uprisings took place, Tunisian revolutionary art has evolved just as much, if not more. Tunisian Graffiti The incident of Mohamed Bouazizi setting himself on fire, committing suicide, because of the humiliation, lack of respect, oppression, and the lack of freedom of expression that he and many others like him go through in Tunisia, was the trigger of not only the Tunisian revolution, but the rest of the Arab Uprisings. Tunisian Music Rap in Tunisia has been very popular for a very long time, even at the time where Bin Ali was still reigning the country.