For many the Arab uprisings in 2010/11 were the start of a new wave of democratisation. The protests, fuelled by anger about social inequalities and enabled by social media, led to regime change in some and reforms in other countries. More than five years later, the enthusiasm has faded. With few exceptions, the Arab uprisings turned out to be less successful than initially assumed. The failed revolutions also showed that social media were not to be the harbinger of freedom that they were thought to be.
Ilyas Saliba (Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)) and Niklas Kossow (Hertie School of Governance) are two political scientists researching protests, reforms and social media in the context of authoritarian and corrupt politics. They will talk about the success and failures of the Arab uprisings, the role that social media played in their context and why the picture today looks much more bleak than in 2011.