Anonymous, 24 Aug 2019
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Globalization, Democracy, the Internet and Arabia

Globalization, Democracy, the Internet and Arabia
While global measures register absences, what emerges in this study are activities of alliance-seeking and coalition formation around implantation and implementation of the Internet in four Arab countries. There has been a tendency to dwell on disappointing results that is close to slipping into a new exceptionalism, which, as much as initial enthusiasms, overinterprets equivocal results. From too much, and too specific, hope, mood swings to too much, and too general, despair (probably abetted by the global dot.com investment bust, but that is another story). What has instead happened includes a startling increase in several specific mobilities – of technical expertise and experts into and up through government, of tech workers around the region, of information flows and production, of investments of all sorts including constant search for training, of shared decision-making that entangles old sites in new constituencies, and additional constituencies that rulers have to take account of and secure support from. This is not electoral, or even institutional, democracy, but neither is it the opposite. It is the globalization that is manifest in political economy as flexible accumulation, in culture as ‘remix’ or creolization, and sociologically in networks that operationalize as alliances and coalitions forming around the techniques as well as technology of networked communications. IT implantation and implementation may be a key site to observe globalization in the Middle East, which otherwise seems a disappointing representative.
paper
eng