Creating Public Space: Counter-hegemonic voices in the social media age

Mubarak, Nada. 2019. Creating Public Space: Counter-hegemonic voices in the social media age. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The rise of independent public voices in a space unrestricted by physical means of coercion has arguably changed the dynamics of media power in Saudi Arabia. This study looks at dissenting counter-discourses on social media platforms that coincided with the Arab uprisings, proposing new framings in the areas of liberty, religion, women and the arts. Using 36 in-depth and semi-structured interviews, the study argues that social media has allowed multiple publics to emerge and contest the dominant ideology and its singular mode of thought into a world that recognises diversity, pluralism, creativity and civil engagement. This study also explores public perceptions of rising dissent through 10 focus groups in different regions of the Kingdom. These groups on the one hand have welcomed and supported dissent not only in privileged social circles but also amongst the less privileged young generation who have found in the internet an opportunity to network, change their thought and support critical voices. On the other hand, some groups highlight the extent to which the dominant ideology is woven into the social fabric, reflecting what people believe, how they think and the ways in which they actively work to reproduce the hegemonic narrative from a bottom-up perspective. The study concludes that even though social media has provided a space where dissent may be welcomed and supported, it has been equally neutralised by the internalisation of hegemony.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Social Media, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, public sphere, hegemony, ideology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 November 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Dec 2019 15:37

Last Modified:

30 Nov 2022 02:26


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