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The Impact of Social Media and Network Governance in State Stability in Time of Turbulences. Egypt after the 2011 Revolution.

Thursday, 21 February, 2013 - 16:00
Faculty: Social Sciences and Solvay Business School
Karim Hamza
phd defence

The public defence of the Ph.D. in Political Science for Karim Hamza will take place on Thursday February 21st  2013 at 4pm in the Conference Room "Rome" at the Institute for European Studies in the Karel Van Miert building, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels.

The Ph.D thesis is called "The Impact of Social Media and Network Governance in State Stability in Time of Turbulences. Egypt after the 2011 Revolution." (Promoter: Prof. dr. Jamal Shahin)


The Arab Spring uprisings began in 2011 (an occurrence that Al Jazeera and other sources frequently referred to as the Arab Awakening), demonstrating that governments of nations that are experiencing these types of chaotic events are facing growing pressure both from their citizens and from other political powers. In particular, these governments must develop a governance structure that can more efficiently sustain state stability in a dynamic environment; cope with different types of turbulence, such as the recent major political reforms; and adapt to conditions of drastic social change and economic upheaval. Moreover, these issues are hardly restricted to Arab nations; in fact, many governments around the world are currently facing unrest.

This phenomenon has encouraged a re-examination of governance structures and their impact on state stability. In addition, more knowledge must be obtained to elucidate how information and communication technology (ICT), which demonstrates continuous technological advances, can influence the governance process during the course of turbulence and/or transition in a state. These investigations will help governments and policy makers respond or adapt to dramatic changes and developments in the political environment by establishing more efficient methods of stabilising a state.

In recent years, either voluntarily or by force, political regimes around the world have undergone transformations from hierarchical governance to network governance. These transformations have resulted in the growth of complicated political networks in governance structures and have increased the role of social media in impacting state stability. As a consequence; governance-related decision- making processes are no longer under strict governmental control. Instead, at present, a variety of actors can influence the governance process and can shape the political environment to their interests. The roles of these actors are particularly prominent in states that are undergoing turbulence or experiencing transitions; in these situations, state control of governance is weakened by the increasing influence of political networks on governance structures.

These shifts in governance structures have drawn attention to the need for a political analysis tool that can assess the state of the state in a manner that considers the state and non-state actors that may influence state stability. To address this issue, this thesis will propose a conceptual and descriptive model that can represent state stability conditions; this model incorporates a re-examination of the influences of network governance and social media on state stability.

This conceptual model will be created by completing the following processes: a) establishing a common understanding of governance concepts and structures, particularly the concept of network governance; b) identifying the main schools of analysis for policy-making processes within governance structures; and c) assessing the impacts of network governance and social media on the stability of a state. The approach will be based on two case studies of events that occurred in Egypt after its 2011 revolution. In particular, this thesis analyses the constitutional referendum process in Egypt and the organisation of general elections for a new Egyptian parliament. These two cases are generally regarded as core elements in the reformation of the state governance structure during the Egyptian state’s transition to stability. The research methodology will be based on a deductive and qualitative paradigm.

The proposed model will attempt to illustrate the need for state stability in a dynamic environment, the importance of the appropriate prioritisation of stability values and conditions, and the impact of political networks and social media on state stability. This model demonstrates that Egypt and other nations that wish to shift from an unstable state to a stable state will need to be very cautious during the course of their adoption of network-based governance.