Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing seminar | John Lang, The Arab Spring: A simple compartmental model for the dynamics of a revolutionExport this event to calendar

Friday, February 8, 2013 11:00 AM EST

MC 5158

Speaker

John Lang, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo

Title

The Arab Spring: A simple compartmental model for the dynamics of a revolution

Abstract

The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi on Dec. 17, 2010 in the small Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid set off a sequence of events culminating in the revolutions of the Arab Spring. It is widely believed that the Internet and social media played a critical role in the growth and success of protests that led to the downfall of the regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. However, the precise mechanisms by which these new media affected the course of events remains unclear. We introduce a simple compartmental model for the dynamics of a revolution in a dictatorial regime such as Tunisia or Egypt which takes into account the role of the Internet and social media. An elementary mathematical analysis of the model identifies four main parameter regions that correspond to: stable police state, meta-stable police state, unstable police state, and failed state. We illustrate how these regions capture, at least qualitatively, a wide range of scenarios observed in the context of revolutionary movements by considering the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as the situation in Iran, China, and Somalia. We pose four questions about the dynamics of the Arab Spring revolutions and formulate answers informed by the model.
Location 
University of Waterloo
MC 5158

,
Canada

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