Coordinating Mass Protests in Tahrir Square: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Engroupment, Multi-Modal Intertextuality and Revolution
Harb Michel, Nazir Nader
Sicoli, Mark A
This dissertation poses three central questions about the 2011 Egyptian Arab Spring: 1) What catalyzed and perpetuated Egypt’s 2011 ‘revolutionary interval’? 2) How effective were various messaging channels (vocal, gestural, ecological, technological) in initiating and coordinating newcomers into smaller protest formations and the larger revolutionary formation?3) What processes were involved in ‘engrouping’ smaller protests into the mass ‘revolutionary formation’ of the 18 Days of Tahrir?The overarching problem is describing how messages that perpetuated the revolution were conveyed through both oral and embodied channels and how that multi-channel language for communicating about and spreading the revolution transformed the people who developed and used it. This language was a vehicle that became a voice that ordinary citizens could use to create a politically-empowered identity. Indeed, those voices and identities of the 2011 Egyptian revolution came to topple the three-decades-old regime of Hosni Mubarak. While some argue Mubarak’s resignation was a short-lived victory given Egypt’s trajectory back toward authoritarian rule since then, I am more interested in how this intense period of popular revolution gave way to a political performative idiom, or what I call “voices” that enabled lay Egyptians to challenge the rules of Arab political discourse as revolutionaries who wielded political power. I explain the charged historical moment and the public spaces in which incumbent institutions and structures were challenged in the political idiom of the revolution in terms of ‘the revolutionary interval’ (i.e. '18 Days of Tahrir’). I discuss the disruption of the fragile institutional status quo through a framework that brings together approaches from multimodal interaction and intertextuality. I focus on how individuals and smaller protest groups combine into larger groups around shared goals, and ultimately into the formations captured in now-popular images of a seemingly-unified mass of Egyptians demanding Mubarak’s resignation. I discuss these processes in terms of distributed cognition, semiotics, and cybernetics theories. I conclude with a description of an experimental computational- sociolinguistic simulation of the methods of communication deployed in Tahrir Square. The simulation models the relative conversion efficiencies of five communicative channel types used to initiate newcomers and coordinate protesters into a revolutionary formation.
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Metal-Oxo Polymer Nanobeads as Potential Multi-Modal Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Dahanayake, Vidumin (Georgetown University, 2018)Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has become one of the most powerful non-invasive imaging modalities in clinical diagnostics and research, being able to distinguish soft tissues at a very high spatial resolution. The use ...