Anonymous, 15 Dec 2017
Research on Middle East, Islam and digital media
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Visual Representation, Propaganda and Cyberspace: The Case of the Palestinian Islamist Movements

The article analyzes the changing position of the visual representation in the context of Islam from the starting point set up in the Qur’an and more specifically in the prophetic tradition to the theoretical positions of Islamic reformism and radicalism and the practice of Islamism movements. To understand this changing relationship is crucial for the research of ideology and propaganda of the contemporary Islamist movement. In the second part, the article illustrates this new position of images in the visual representations of Palestinian Islamist movements, specifically of Hamas – The Islamic Resistance Movement and its military wing the Brigades of the Martyr ‘Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine and its military wing the Phalanges of Jerusalem and finally the Popular Resistance Committees and its military wing the Victorious Salah al-Din Brigades.
CyberOrient

Presenting the Glossy Look of Warfare in Cyberspace – The Islamic State’s Magazine Dabiq

Since Ramaḍān 1435 (June/July 2014), the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (dawlat al-islāmiyya, IS), the ‘State of the Caliphate’ (dawlat al-khilāfa), publishes a periodic magazine entitled Dabiq. This glossy outlet, produced and distributed by al-Ḥayāt, one of the movement’s media organizations, is widely disseminated on the Internet and forms part of IS’s advancement in the field of the media. Published in English and other European languages, it allows the movement to spread its messages to an international audience. This article analyzes and evaluates four issues of Dabiq published in English between June and October 2014.It argues that three aspects are crucial for framing the ideological justification of the movement’s warfare and help to rally support for their state-building project: the development and establishment of images of the enemy, the notion of ‘strangeness,’ and the call for emigration. Within this framework, the magazine intertwines textual and visual accounts of the movement’s physical and virtual battlefields and mediates these to a non-Arab speaking public. Thus, Dabiq is – chronologically, technologically, and ideologically – the most recent and very well elaborated attempt of the Islamic State at winning support among the broadest public possible on a global level. The article concludes that the magazine at large and the abovementioned aspects reflect both the ideological structure of the movement and its current situation in Iraq and Syria. Utilizing derogative images of their enemies helps the Islamic State both to maintain its claim for legitimacy and to position their adherents and opponents within a dichotomous ideological framework. On this basis, it calls its followers to immigrate to the land of the two rivers and the Levant in order to support the establishment of an Islamic State and eradicate nation state borders.
CyberOrient

The History of Telephony in the Non-West

This special issue of CyberOrient deals with the history of telephony in the non-west. Although the comprehensive histories of different media technologies in the west have been well covered in the existing media and history literature, the roles that these imported technologies played in the non-west have not been elaborated in detail. The telephone as a technology of communication took up differing roles in private and public spaces. The socio-political changes it fostered both in private and professional relations should be regarded as a significant object of historical analysis.
CyberOrient

Review: Technology and National Identity in Turkey. Mobile Communications and the Evolution of a Post-Ottoman Nation

Technology and National Identity in Turkey is a social study of technology or, more precisely, of the cultural, historical, social, psychological and individual contexts, attitudes, and practices connected to and resulting from the use of mobile phones in Turkey. It also looks into the ways this technology has been 'domesticated' or 'nationalized' and links it to the shaping of national identity.
CyberOrient

The Introduction of Telephone into Turkish Houses: Private Space, Borders of the Neighborhoods and Solidarity

This essay is based on the data collected in a two-year research project (between 2010–2012), under the title Telephony And Turkish Modernization: Social History of Telephone Since The Ottoman Era (1881–2010), which was primarily concerned with the social history of telephone in Turkey during is peculiarly long history of implementation and dispersal. The project was conducted as oral history and archive research, and a comparative approach was adopted to identify and analyze the divergent nature of their findings. According to the findings of the researched archive materials (newspapers, comic and popular magazines), the implementation of telephone into the Turkish houses created complex feelings, which found its expression as both “emulation” and “intimidation” attached to the experience of telephone in a double system of representation. Whereas the oral history research findings are discordant in the sense that telephone is remembered as a symbol of “solidarity” and “sharing” in the narratives of telephone memories, and was accommodated into the traditional everyday life of the neighborhood. Through the case of telephone technology, this essay aims at pointing out the gap between the discursive construction of the elements of the experience of modernity and the actual experience of the historical subjects; and argues that this gap should be disclosed with more ethnographic studies for it also points a feeling of ‘lack’ that pervasively infuses itself into our present and finds its expression in the self-narratives of the oral history as a nostalgia for the past.
CyberOrient

Reflections on Oral History: Four Cities on the Social History of Telephone Technology in Turkey

Throughout the history of the Turkish Republic, the telephone has collectively been perceived as a technology of modernity, progress, wealth and cultural capital. Yet due to a deteriorated infrastructure, which has hindered penetration of the telephone to the entire country, only a small segment of society was able to install a telephone in their private dwellings as well as in their place of business. This article discusses the results of an oral history research, based on in-depth interviews with telephone users (and non-users) in Istanbul, Ankara, Kayseri and Diyarbakir, conducted during 2011–2012. Essentially, this article argues, that technology transfer does not necessarily translate itself into modes of social life as modernity, at least not uniformly so. On the contrary, our oral history study displays a variety of “modernities”, which existed side by side.
CyberOrient

The Telephone and the Social Struggles in Turkey: An Overview of a Social History of a Communication Technology

This essay presents an overview of social history of telephone technology in Turkey, by taking the user-perspective to its center. As part of the set of essays in this special issue dealing with the history of telephony in the non-west, this essay seeks to explore how the telephone has become part of social practices of people, how it has integrated into the social struggles of people and how it has been appropriated to convey the users' struggle to alter their positions in the social structure, assert their agencies and participate in the making of the modern throughout the history of modern Turkey. Rather than offering a detailed categorization, periodization and related narration of the life of the telephone technology in Turkey/Ottoman Empire, this article specifically focuses on some moments where the meanings and the uses of telephone in daily life practices and imaginations of people reflected and contributed to the mobilization of the social struggle in the form of class and/or ethnic and gender struggle.
CyberOrient

Mobile Revolution: Toward a History of Technology, Telephony and Political Activism in Egypt

This article examines the use of everyday mobile technologies, and mobile telephony in particular, in political activism and protest during the 2011 Egyptian uprisings and throughout its continuing aftermath. The Arab revolutions have their own, now familiar, nomenclature, derived from the semantics of revolution and the digital age. Much of the language used to describe and analyze events in the Middle East has emphasized the “newness” of the technologies of protest and coordination and the uniquely 2.0 characteristics of these political movements. This article confronts this narrative, exploring the role of mobile telephony in Egypt during an ongoing period of political upheaval by moving away from the question of what is “new” or “revolutionary” toward what is ordinary put toward revolutionary ends. The article argues that the Arab Spring presents a crucial opportunity to interrogate and deconstruct the hybrid ecology of people and technological tools. By exploring several specific ways in which mobile telephony has played a role in the Egyptian revolution, this article demonstrates how a fixation on newness not only tells an incomplete story of this technologically mediated revolution but also undermines the ongoing practices of historicizing it.
CyberOrient

Gendering the February 20th Movement: Moroccan Women Redefining: Boundaries, Identities and Resistances

The Arab Spring opened up social and political spaces for women to make demands for gender quality, political and social reform, human rights, and equality. It has produced, changed and reinvigorated contestations around space, citizenship, femininity, religion, and sense of belonging, as women played an increasingly significant role in the revolutionary processes and developments in the region. This article will analyze the online and offline communication strategies that the February 20th Movement employed to answer the following three questions: a) What is the nature of gendered based demands and how are they articulated in February 20th movement?; b) How did the movement’s activists discursively construct the gendered subjects and what are the material effects of the discourse; and lastly, c) What forms of expression, tools, and channels were used by Moroccan women activists to ensure the inclusion of gender-related issues and demands in political movement? To answer these questions, this qualitative study will take into account the prevailing political, social and economic contexts of Morocco, in an attempt to interpret Moroccan women activists’ experiences, demands, opportunities and constraints and how they contribute to redefining these women’s identities, subjectivities and resistances differently. It uses textual and visual analysis of mediated communication materials obtained from the February 20th movement digital campaign videos and website to document not only women’s representation within the February 20th movement but also explores the various ways subjects are materially and discursively constituted and circumscribed.
CyberOrient

Sowing the Seeds of The Message: Islamist Women Activists Before, During, and After the Egyptian Revolution

This article focuses on the activities and experiences of a group of Islamist women activists, socialized within the ranks of Islam Online Arabic (IOL). These activists engaged in a range of significant social, political, and media practices, before, during and after the ousting of Mubarak; as individuals, as journalists, as counsellors, as agenda setters and creators of media campaigns. Drawing on longitudinal and ethnographic research, this article is able to highlight and document the continuities in modes of civic engagement and activism across multiple media platforms, organizations, and time. It demonstrates how these women’s activism continues to be framed by the (IOL) trope the message, which entails cultivation of self, social, and political awareness. The Egyptian revolution is theoretically conceptualized as a phase of liminality (Turner 1979). Liminality entails upheaval, fear, and promise. The article draws attention to the gendered experiences of the revolution including circumvention of patriarchal structures and the re-negotiations of gender norms. Upon conclusion, it is argued that the message has proven highly adaptable to shifting political scenarios. Indeed, the betwixt and between stage of liminality that Egypt was thrust into after the ousting of Mubarak, was particularly fertile soil for sowing and reaping the seeds of the message.
CyberOrient
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