Anonymous, 24 Aug 2019
Research on Middle East, Islam and digital media
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Technology, Media, and the Next Generation in the Middle East

Technology, Media, and the Next Generation in the Middle East
New media and rising levels of education are resetting the parameters of citizenship across the Arab countries of the Middle East. These developments are uneven: regulation of and access to information vary considerably and in the short run are contradictory. But their overall context is an expanding public sphere with unprecedented opportunities for participation, a widening, more diverse public with widening transnational ties, and spaces for new interpretations and new interpreters. For some, these opportunities are associated with globalization, particularly in finance and labor markets. For others, they evoke the contradictory pulls of localization, particularly in culture and politics. Media and migration link the two; and in the longer run, the development of new media and rising levels of education intersect with regime transitions also already underway that regionally may be represented as from "Ottoman" to modern, even "postmodern" styles in government and society, as those are locally understood, and increasingly figure in questioning "Who is Arab/Arabian now?" At the center of these developments, shifting media regimes constitute a key arena for redefining the public sphere, including what is public and what registers as public action and identity. This shift is already underway, and its parameters, if not their impacts, can be identified where they occur first, in the meeting of "down-market" technologies of new media and "up-market" people with education and inclination to make use of them to advance claims - and thereby to define - the public sphere.
paper
eng