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Syria: the war of constructing identities in the digital space and the power of discursive practices

Zaiter, Bilal (2020) Syria: the war of constructing identities in the digital space and the power of discursive practices. . Conflict Research Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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How have Syrians discursively constructed their identities on the social network Facebook between 2011 and 2018? How have various conflict parties used identity politics as a means of mobilization, and how such practices had deflected the rightful demands? Can linguistics using data-evidence approach help us better understand and analyse conflict and identify conflict resolution intervention points? This research tries to answer these questions amongst others in a series of attempts to show the potentials of multidisciplinary approach to conflict analysis for peace interventions through big data, discursive practices, history and the power of archive. This paper looks at self and group identity practices within the Syrian conflict by investigating the notion of identity formation from a data-driven perspective. The data is based on analysing published institutional content and comments by ordinary citizens on 296 Syrian conflict related Facebook pages between February 2011 and May 2018. The analysis shows four main clusters of social groups ideologies with certain overlaps and strong fragmentation within the Syrian revolution/opposition’s cluster. All clusters’ institutions and members have used different rhetorical and linguistic devices in representing their own groups’ identities and the other groups’ ones. While the roots of the conflict are structural in their nature, mainly of ethnic-religious ideational basis, institutional political messages had a clear role in triggering inflammatory discussions about these identity dimensions. Both the Syrian government and Islamist groups had relatively clear objectives stemming from clear ideologies and explicit communication models. Possessing the needed resources, both have operated within relatively formal structures. This entitled them to continue to construct cultural hegemony through various practices and disseminated discourses via institutions.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: Conflict and Civil Society
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2020 15:30
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:32

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