THE SOCIAL MEDIA ROLE IN FORMING POLITICAL AWARENESS AMONG IRAQI YOUTH

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2023-05-24

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Abstract

This thesis uses the uses and gratifications theory (U&G) to understand the relationship between social media use and political knowledge and participation among Iraqi youth during the October revolution in 2019. This study investigates the role of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter) in forming political awareness and the relationship between social media use and political knowledge and participation among Iraqi youth. The study focused on the importance of youth participation in discussing political issues and how social media helped Iraqi youth to build political knowledge and address matters of concern. Additionally, there is a lack of research conducted that focuses on the role social media in influencing Iraqi youth and forming their political knowledge, as an Iraqi Arab. The author aims to fill research gaps by making observations and recommendations that could help future activists. Based on a review of existing studies, very few researchers have studied Iraqi youth and their use of social media in general and the relationship between social media and political knowledge in particular. The uprising in Iraq and the crackdown of the government on the protest showed how Iraq, a country that was presented after 2003 to the international community as a “democratic” state, is dominated by an authoritarian regime. Protesters demanded government policies change and policy reforms, but soon people across the region the demands shifted to regime change and asked for new leadership and the resignation of their current governments. This thesis will focus its investigation on two social networking platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and their role in the Iraqi protests; these platforms are used in Iraq for political discourse and during the revolution.

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Middle East, Revolutions, Arab spring

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