Social media and the Arab spring in Bahrain: From mobilization to confrontation

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Magdalena Karolak, Zayed UniversityFollow

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

The Arab Spring, Civil Society, and Innovative Activism

Publication Date



© The Author(s) 2017. The aim of this chapter is to examine the use of the social media by the Bahraini anti-government movement since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Bahrain in 2011 till the present day. Social media have served as an outlet for social movement to propagate ideas, mobilize members for collective action and coordinate activism. They enabled reaching out for international support in circumstances where information would not be diffused by the official channels. What is, however, remarkable is that the anti-government movement continues its activism after the crackdown in March 2011, while confined to opposition districts, with minimal international attention and largely unable to achieve any of its goals during the negotiations with the pro-regime camp. In this situation that could easily lead to despair, social media play an important role in sustaining high levels of mobilization in the fourth year of unrest. Continued mobilization is necessary to pursue this goal, yet it requires significant amounts of energy from the community. This chapter will assess what innovative techniques are used to foster high levels of commitment to the cause. It will examine, among others, how the Internet helps to cement the community around a common sentiment and serves as a source of information and a chronicle of events; they discipline their members to continue the commitment to the movement but also serve for the purpose of confrontation the pro- and anti-regime groups involved in the Arab Spring events.




Palgrave Macmillan US

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Indexed in Scopus


Open Access