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From passion to activism? The politics, communications, and creativity of participatory networks in the MENA region

Banaji, Shakuntala and Moreno Almeida, Cristina and Adel, Rita and Alabed, Asma and Attafi, Sara and Chahdi, Chadi and Ibrahim, Monica (2017) From passion to activism? The politics, communications, and creativity of participatory networks in the MENA region. LSE Middle East Centre Report, Sleiman-Haidar, Ribale (ed.) Middle East Centre, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

This paper argues that while platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are unquestionably allowing some young citizens in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region quicker, easier and greater access to job opportunities and likeminded groups and citizens inside and outside the region, class-based digital divides exist, scepticism of new media remains, online surveillance and harassment are rife, and social media fatigue is common. Existing community structures, creativity and emerging media remain important for youth participatory civic networks in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Communities, local neighbourhoods, private and public spaces, and commercial media cultures vie for position in young people’s social worlds and civic identities. Young Emiratis, expats, Jordanians, Jordanian Palestinians, Moroccans and Tunisians practice their political values and social relationships in networks that are strongly inflected by social class and gender. Indigeneity, race and sexuality also inflect the cultural histories and practices on which young people in the region draw. Individual charisma, self-exploitation, arts and crafts, old media tools and local friendship or kinship networks are still the basis for much civic solidarity, political trust, critique and creative dissemination in the MENA region. This has profound implications for technologically oriented protest narratives, for discussions of personalisation, and for democracy.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/middleEastCentre/home.aspx
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Research centres and groups > Middle East Centre
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2017 13:52
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2017 15:52
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/82989

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