Revolutions and Expatriates: Social Networking, Ubiquitous Media and the Disintermediation of the State

18 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2012

See all articles by Jon Garon

Jon Garon

Shepard Broad College of Law

Date Written: February 19, 2012


This article explores the modern disruption of the state as the territorial control over its citizens and the restructuring of these social structures caused by social media and the unmediated communication of the digital age.

Nowhere has this transformation been greater than in the Middle East, a region shaped by arbitrary political expediency and under tremendous popular pressure to redefine itself. But these transformations are not merely the populist uprisings of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria; they can be seen in economic transformations of Asia and economic harmonizations between Europe and North America.

In all political, economic and social spheres, the role of social media and non-mediated communication has systematically reduced the role of the state and empowered a new network dynamic that will define the coming decades of the Twenty-First Century.

A survey of Diaspora literature, however, suggests that while social media and Internet-age communications tools expand the role of Diaspora communities, they are quintessentially a tool. Some expatriate communities are engaged in peace building efforts and economic development while others are less tractable and using these tools to fund or promote armed conflict. These communities themselves are heterogeneous, so any generalization oversimplifies the community and its internal conflicts. The relative power of the state and the expatriate community are shifting away from the state – sometime evoking additional conflicts. Whatever the role, the significance of the Diaspora will increase and play a more significant part on their former homeland. The role will be determined by the conditions and the community.

Keywords: diaspora, social media, expatriate, state, global, power, Middle East, Arab Spring, censorship

JEL Classification: H1, H10, H11, H70, H73, J10, J19, K33, O00, O19, O34, Z10

Suggested Citation

Garon, Jon M., Revolutions and Expatriates: Social Networking, Ubiquitous Media and the Disintermediation of the State (February 19, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Jon M. Garon (Contact Author)

Shepard Broad College of Law ( email )

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