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The internet as a tool for feminist development in post-revolutionary Tunisia

Mulcahey, Taylor (2016) The internet as a tool for feminist development in post-revolutionary Tunisia. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This project analyzes the role of the internet in the development of grassroots feminism in Tunisia following the 2011 revolution that toppled the longstanding regime, and sparked a wave of protest throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Following the collapse of the regime, and its program of state feminism, Tunisian women had the opportunity to develop new forms of grassroots feminism, and they did so using a variety of tools, including the internet. The internet is free, and widely accessible, and it offers new ways of facilitating social movements. It is changing the way that women react to sexism and oppression in their societies, and is therefore becoming a key piece in contemporary feminist development, as was the case in Tunisia. In order to understand how Tunisian women are utilizing this tool, I conducted an in-depth analysis of three online entities, including the blog A Tunisian Girl, the Chaml Collective, and the topless images of Amina Sboui. Through online ethnography and cultural visual analysis, I discovered that there were a number of development methods that these entities held in common. Each source utilized the internet to create transnational feminist connections and promote feminine agency, and through their ability to affect offline spaces, they each challenged the idea that the online social movements are ineffective. I also found that the type of entity is important, as different sources were better suited to achieve specific goals, including the use of images in order to quickly share a message across diverse online platforms, and Chaml’s use of Facebook to facilitate discussions. My research into the specific use of these online entities to aid in the development of a grassroots feminist movement in Tunisia contributes to a growing body of scholarship on the intersection of online and offline spaces, and the role of new technologies in the development and facilitation of social movements, including contemporary feminism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mulcahey, Taylormulcaheytaylor@gmail.comTLM76
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberCohen, Fraydafraydac@yahoo.comfrcst5
Committee MemberGuthrie, Meredithguthrie.meredith@gmail.comguthrie
Committee MemberGajjala,
Thesis AdvisorPeterson, Lukelup14@pitt.edulup14
Date: 15 December 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 November 2016
Approval Date: 15 December 2016
Submission Date: 8 December 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 94
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tunisia, Feminism, Cyberfeminism, Internet, Mulcahey
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 20:17
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2016 06:15


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