In the widespread hyperventilation about the role of media in the Arab uprisings, journalists, academics and bloggers have endowed, in turn, Facebook, Twitter, Al-Jazeera, YouTube and hip-hop with magical powers. Mythologized, digital media have also been personalized, as if they embodied human agency without humans. The belief in the centrality of media gadgetry in social and political change in the Middle East, as I have argued elsewhere, can be traced back to Daniel Lerner’s Passing of Traditional Society , with his notion of communication-enabled "psychic mobility" moving people across a tri-chotomy of Traditionalist, Transitionalist, Modernist in order to reach the promised land of Western modernity, characterized as much by the ability to own and consume things than by any other social value. The media-centrism of these discourses puts "new" media at the heart of the elaboration of modernity.
Published in Volume 2