Revolting from Abroad: The Formation of a Lebanese Transnational Public

Sarah Armouch, Reem Talhouk, Vasilis Vlachokyriakos

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Nowadays social movements are driven by networks of people who resort to social media platforms to rally, self-organise and coordinate action around a shared cause, which can be referred to as the formation of publics. Due to years of political instability, conflicts, corruption, sectarianism, economic collapse and declining living conditions, in October 2019 Lebanon witnessed uprisings which transcended into a wider social movement. As the movement unfolded, Lebanese diaspora members living across the world formed their own publics in support of the Lebanese revolution that interfaced with the local Lebanon-based publics. As such, a broader transnational public emerged as a result of the coordinated online and offline efforts between diaspora actors and local actors, which had a crucial role in mitigating the aftermath of the compounded crises that hit Lebanon. In this paper, through observation and interviews with Lebanese diaspora members, we contribute a socio-technical understanding of the formation of a transnational public, with a particular focus on the underlying infrastructures that enabled its creation. Furthermore, we surface the challenges in relation to sustaining such a diaspora public and its interfacing with local publics in Lebanon. We contribute empirical insights that highlight how different technological tools and platforms, coupled with social processes built within diaspora groups and with local actors, led to the formation of such a multilayered transnational public.
Original languageEnglish
Article number406
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022


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