Billur Aslan has published a new article in the International Journal of Communication, entitled The Mobilization Process of Syria’s Activists: The Symbiotic Relationship Between the Use of Information and Communication Technologies and the Political Culture. This is based on research she is conducting for her PhD thesis comparing activists' use of new media technologies in Egypt and Syria. The journal is ranked #8 for communications journals and is open access, so the article is free for anyone to read. Billur's abstract is below.
Using extensive interviews of Syrian activists and tracing the course of initially peaceful protests, this article explores the mobilization tactics protesters adopted over four distinct phases of Syrian protests up to August 2011. Analysis reveals that in establishing trustful relations and a sense of effectiveness and belonging among the protesters, interpersonal communication was more effective and faster than the hybrid media activities of Facebook administrators. Nevertheless, the uprising’s later stages show that the more protesters became accustomed to protest culture, the more they benefited from ICTs. Many scholars studying ICTs’ role in the protests have advanced the idea that people’s use of the technology—not the technology itself—affected social processes. This study takes this argument a step further to claim that people’s use of technology constitutes a dependent variable linked to the country’s political culture.