Anonymous, 23 Jan 2020
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Tweeting like a Pigeon: The Internet in the Arab Revolutions

The extraordinary uprisings since December 2010 represented the long-prepared transformation from fatalism to people power. The online–offline dialectic allowed the revolution to be mediated with global ramifications - from Wisconsin to Barcelona to Athens. This techno-social nexus forms a crucial element of the overall push and pull factors and this contribution reassess the "Net Worth" from a critical perspective. The fetishizing flora and fauna labels from earlier hyped political-techno events --"Cedar", "Green", or "Orange" revolutions-- that coincided with particular geo-political algorithms, were initially copied and pasted as emblematic solicitations. But whether Wikileaks or the Palestine Papers, and YouTube videos or blogs disclosing practices of torture and corruption—opinions have been shaped and decisions were mediated by online technologies. This piece demonstrates the overflow of YouTube music clips through the prism of the Tunisian revolution. I will look at these dynamics through the lens of Palestine as an informative ethnographic comparison because it helps indicate the power structure behind technology and allows me to assess the multiplicity of internet politics and argue that online activities and offline power structures do not exist in isolation and are unequally mediated.

The Time of Concluding the Contract in E-Commerce from Islamic Legal Perspective

The issue of when a contract between face-to-face parties is deemed to be concluded presents no legal difficulty to deal with in conventional dealings. However, the borderless nature of the Internet presents questions as to when a contract is deemed to be irrevocably formed and therefore raises questions regarding contract validity. As a general rule, a contract is formed when there is an exchange of offer and acceptance between the parties. However, in online contracts the contracting parties are not in face-to-face meeting and thus the exchange of offer and acceptance involves the possibility that such correspondence may not reach its intended recipient because of technical errors or other technological complexities. As a result, this article tends to engage in a critical study to determine the time when a contract formed in the cyberspace is concluded in the light of Islamic contracting principles with reference to a number of International legal frameworks.

Review: Von Chatraum bis Cyberjihad: Muslimische Internetnutzung in lokaler und globaler Perspektive

The book titled Von Chatraum bis Cyberjihad: Muslimische Internetnutzung in lokaler und globaler Perspektive, edited by Matthias Brückner and Johanna Pink, focuses on different aspects of the Islamic and Muslim presence on the Internet. It is divided into three subsections. The first focuses on Internet use in the Islamic world, the second on trans-locality and the Internet, and the third on global Islam.

Review: Blogistan: The Internet and Politics in Iran

Sreberny and Khiabany's book Blogistan deals with various paradoxes and contradictions of Iranian policy towards the information and communication technologies (ICTs). Placing the Iranian blogosphere within the rapidly modernized telecommunication sector and looking at the democratic potentials of the Internet being suppressed by Iranian state policies, Blogistan reveals how the contradictions between the development of ICTs and its state's control as well as tension between market interests and revolutionary claims create a contradictory blogosphere in Iran.

Cyber Counselors: Online Fatwas, Arbitration Tribunals, and the Construction of Muslim Identity in the UK

This article explores four distinct websites providing normative content for Muslim minorities in the UK. It focuses on the connections between these Islamic websites and global and local Islamic institutions, the interactions between online and offline Muslim communities, and the ways in which the normative content online shapes offline religious manifestations and practices.

Political Activism 2.0: Comparing the Role of Social Media in Egypt’s “Facebook Revolution” and Iran’s “Twitter Uprising”

Social media, particularly blogging, Facebook and Twitter, have played a key role in instigating, accelerating and even organizing some of the uprisings and revolutions that have been taking place all over the Middle East. This role has been effective in galvanizing the youth and empowering them in their fights against repressive regimes and their plight for more freedom and independence. This study looks into the social media role in the so-called “Facebook revolution”, which took place in Egypt in January 2011 and the so-called “Twitter uprising”, which took place in Iran in June 2009. The Egyptian revolution did succeed in toppling the regime, while the Iranian uprising failed. Why did the calls for political change that started in the virtual world lead to actual change in the real world in Egypt but not in Iran? This study addresses this question by providing a critical analysis of the available literature and interviews with online activists in Egypt and Iran. The authors used the SPIN model (Segmentation, polycentrism, integration and networking) as a theoretical framework and concluded that the model helped social media succeed in Egypt, but not in Iran.

Al Jazeera’s Framing of Social Media During the Arab Spring

This study investigates how Al Jazeera framed social media in relation to the revolutions and protests of the “Arab Spring” within its broadcast media coverage. A content analysis of Arabic language broadcasts appearing from January 25th through February 18th 2011, covering the protests in Tahrir Square, was conducted using the Broadcast Monitoring System (BMS) and Arab Spring Archive. Through this analysis we see a number of common narratives being used by Al Jazeera to frame social media and make claims about the influence they had on the protests and related social movements. By noting the frequency of social communications technologies referenced, ways in which these technologies were characterized and interpreting supporting themes with which they were identified helps illuminate the assumptions promoted by Al Jazeera regarding the role and impact of social communications technology on these events.

Remixing the Spring!: Connective leadership and read-write practices in the 2011 Arab uprisings

This article discusses the connections between the unfolding of the 2011 Arab uprisings and the “culture of the net”. Being far from overestimating the role that Internet has played in the uprisings, we propose to look at it not as an ensemble of tools, applications and technologies; but as a specific set of values, behaviors, skills and strategies that define the cultural dimension of the web. The article shows how linking, sharing and remixing have been among the core cultural practices behind the social movements that were successful in confronting Egypt and Tunisia`s regimes. We also discuss how, despite the fact that the Syrian uprising has not achieved its political goal, yet it shares a similar cultural framework based on participation, peer-production, remix practices.

Beyond the Soapbox: Facebook and the Public Sphere in Egypt

The question of the internet as a forum for political debate is continuously contested. My research grows out of such scholarship but focuses specifically on Facebook as a virtual public sphere in Egypt. Based on an analysis of a note posted by Wael Ghonim during the January 25 uprising on the Facebook group ‘We are all Khaled Said,’ I discuss the structural and technological benefits of the platform, as well as user behavior and interaction with one another. Using Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks as the theoretical groundwork for my study, I make observations about the internet’s ability to allow considered opinion, not just to record popular sentiment. I argue that while Facebook’s structure has both drawbacks and advantages for promoting discussion, the new medium's biggest limitation in helping to produce a virtual public sphere is user inexperience with the platform.

Review: The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Information Technology and Political Islam

Howard's book The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy focuses on the relation between ITCs and civil society and democracy in the Muslim world. It assembled a database of indicators (for Internet availability, access, policy, ownership, structures and uses) cross-referenced to common standard measures of democratization and development for 75 countries with substantial Muslim populations.
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