Anonymous, 11 Dec 2018
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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

The Saudi Blogosphere: Implications of New Media Technology and the Emergence of Saudi-Islamic Feminism

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia serves as a protector of the social, cultural, and religious epicenters of the Islamic faith; Mecca and Medina. While other Islamic autocracies have fallen in the wake of the Arab Spring, Saudi Arabia and its religious and political elite remain. However, threats to their legitimacy are growing. Especially relevant are increasing calls for women’s rights. The Saudi Arabian public sphere of the pre-digital era had effectively banned women’s participation in public. More recently, the spread of Internet authored blogs has created a new public sphere for women’s deliberation. This study seeks to analyze how the Saudi blogosphere, as a public sphere of deliberation, provides insight into the emergence of Saudi-Islamic feminism through a critical discursive analysis. Three discursive themes emerge to identify how Saudi women negotiate identity and manage dialectical tensions stemming from their intersectional positions: displaying and defending iman (faith), repositioning the ʿulamā,ʾ and restoring Saudi history. Taken together these discursive themes detail a Saudi-Islamic Feminist perspective that is emerging in resistance to Western feminist frameworks and in defense of a distinctively Islamic claim to women’s rights, education, and equitable treatment within the public sphere.
CyberOrient

Women and Media: Libyan Female Journalists from Gaddafi Media to Post- revolution: Case Study

This article examines the representation of women in Libyan national traditional media before, during and after the February 2011 revolution that led to the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. What roles did female journalists assume within national traditional newsrooms and how did these roles evolve from activism in the defense of women’s causes and the official revolutionary ideals of the former regime to spreading the message of the revolutionaries during the uprising? This article further reflects on changes in the nature of female journalists’ roles in the new post-revolution media landscape. The opening of the media market to private ownership for the first time in Libya’s history is accompanied by an expansion of women’s presence in Libyan newsrooms, where this increased visibility is to be viewed primarily as a mean of attracting audiences. In the shaky media landscape that characterizes the post-revolutionary period, this expansion reflects the clash between the conservative values of Libyan society and the liberal values of the open market. I argue that the growing number of women in national Libyan media post-revolution is not reflective of a general trend towards women’s empowerment in a country struggling with the spread of violence and the legacy of the past. Rather, the thorny process of restructuring national media post-revolution and the need for new media outlets capable of catering for large audiences are empowering the presence of women in newsrooms as a strong marketing asset.
CyberOrient

“My Life is More Important Than Family Honor:” Offline Protests, Counter-Cyberactivism, and Article 308

In summer 2012, protests erupted in Jordan in light of several high-profile enactments of Article 308 of the Penal Code, or “Rape Law,” that allows rape charges to be dropped if the perpetrator agrees to marry the victim, which were organized offline and aimed to create a groundswell of public support for changing gender inequities in society rather than political and legal structures. Users of social media were quick to deride and disparage the protests and protesters in highly visible and aggressive ways. This case demonstrates that the Internet can simultaneously act as a vehicle for resisting social exclusion and gender segregation through cyberactivism, while also serving as a mechanism for reinforcing preexisting cultural norms through, what I call, “counter-cyberactivism.” Such displays amplify the argument that the Internet serves as a space for online cultural performance of offline life, which enables the capacity for both cultural change and durability simultaneously. I conclude with the implications of this case for the online, virtual umma.
CyberOrient
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