How is the adoption of digital media in the Arab world affecting the relationship between the state and its subjects? What new forms of online engagement and strategies of resistance have emerged from the aspirations of digitally empowered citizens in the Middle East and North Africa? Based on his new book Networked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life, this talk offers a conceptual investigation and a grounded exploration of evolving media practices that bring into focus the intricate relationship between digital culture, youth engagement, cyber activism, and political expression. It explores the emergence of a digital culture of contention that helped networked Arab publics negotiate their lived reality, reconfigure power relations, and ultimately redefine the scope of politics. It broadens the focus from narrow debates about the role that social media played in the Arab uprisings toward a fresh understanding of how changes in media affect the state-society relationship over time.
Mohamed Zayani is Associate Professor of Critical Theory at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Director of the Media and Politics Program. He is also an Affiliate Faculty with the Georgetown Communication, Culture and Technology Graduate Program. His works include Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings (Oxford University Press); Networked Publics and Digital Contention (Oxford University Press); The Culture of Al Jazeera (McFarland); and The Al Jazeera Phenomenon (Pluto Press).
This talk is being presented as part of the "Revolutionary Public Sphere" project at PARGC and is co-sponsored by the Media Activism Research Collective at the Annenberg School for Communication and the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lunch and colloquium begin at noon. Space is limited, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Emna El Hammi for nawaat.org.