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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In viewing movements as communities, scholars have gone beyond conceptualizing social movements as collections of formal organizations. Using the concept of social movement communities (SMCs), we aim to capture the diverse political and cultural elements that contribute to movement goals and sustain protests over time. Scholars first developed the concept by studying decentralized movements in democratic settings. Here, we ask whether movement communities can form under authoritarian governments in the Middle East. Although the recent wave of revolutionary activity provided some room for resistance, despotic tendencies persist. Using cases from Palestine, Iran, and Egypt, we test the resilience of the SMC concept and explore the forms movement communities may take in such contexts. We conclude by proposing alternative conceptions of community and emphasizing the importance of communication technologies to better understand unconventional forms of resistance in non-democratic settings.

Keywords: social movement communities, Middle East, everyday resistance, information and communications technologies (ICTs), collective identity, campaigns

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