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[Lim’s publication] Framing Bouazizi: ‘White lies’, hybrid network, and collective/connective action in the 2010–11 Tunisian uprising

17 September 2013 387 views 5 Comments

Please find below the newly published article on the 2010-2011 Tunisian uprising.


Framing Bouazizi: ‘White lies’, hybrid network, and collective/connective action in the 2010–11 Tunisian uprising

by Merlyna Lim, Arizona State University

cited as:  Lim, M. (2013)  Framing Bouazizi: ‘White lies’, hybrid network, and collective/connective action in the 2010–11 Tunisian uprising, Journalism: Theory, Praxis, and Criticism,  14(7): 921-941, doi:10.1177/1464884913478359

By delving into the detailed account of the Tunisian uprising, this article offers an explanation that sets the 2010 uprising apart from its precursors. The 2010 uprising was successful because activists successfully managed to bridge geographical and class divides as well as to converge offline and online activisms. Such connection and convergence were made possible, first, through the availability of dramatic visual evidence that turned a local incident into a spectacle. Second, by successful frame alignment with a master narrative that culturally and politically resonated with the entire population. Third, by activating a hybrid network made of the connective structures to facilitate collective action – among Tunisians who shared collective identities and collective frames – and connective action – among individuals who sought more personalized paths to contribute to the movement through digital media.


Full text is available here: http://JOU.sagepub.com/content/14/7/921.full.pdf+html

or for those who have no access via university library, the pdf copy is here.


  • nemo said:

    Thanks for bringing this ‘Framing Bouazizi’ issue.
    It is always very difficult at any level, to deal with social justice related to high unemployment, oppression, politic and family/support and suicide/ self inflicted wound. ‘Hybrid’ action, not only in words seems will sustain for a long time.
    Movement through digital media not only powerful to replacing the regime, but also for survival in daily life among urban poor locally.


    mer Reply:

    thanks for your comment. you’re right, what’s more important is the empowerment, engagement, and participation of the citizen (especially the marginalized) on the ground after the regime change rather than the revolt itself.


  • colson said:

    Convincing :). By chance conditions were right and social media were crucial for regime change. But..

    Connecting offline and online activism obviously isn’t self evident..

    For instance why is it that though the effects of today’s policies in the EU are very visible and, as all surveys prove, resulted in huge public discontent and discussed in social media( in almost all member countries, but especially in Mediterranean ones), still no relevant effective concerted action occurs? Is just the ‘right’ framing lacking? Or does it indicate social media also can turn a public citizen into an individualistic citizen, can turn positive activism in passive anger?


    mer Reply:

    hi Colson, as always it’s nice to ‘hear’ your comment. thanks. your question is important but cannot be answered simply by a paragraph comment in a blog. first, i didn’t argue that ‘right framing’ is the only factor in Tunisia (or in any other uprisings), yet it’s one of some important factors in collective action/social movement. i also didn’t say that Tunisian (or Egyptian) uprising was an effective concerted action (it was a culmination of various disparate and formerly disconnected actions). social media doesn’t simply turn a user into public or individualistic… some are more public to begin with, or more individualistic… some passive, some not. what i have been arguing is that social media ALONE CANNOT make social movement… but if it’s used in a certain way as part of the strategy in the making of social movement, then it can be effective. i wrote about this, to a certain degree, in my Indonesian social media activism article (I believe it’s somewhere in this blog).


  • What’s the best narrative for revolution? | Alternative Banking said:

    […] but they built a narrative that people really loved. Merlyna wrote a paper about this available here if you want to know […]

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