Mapping the “Arab Spring”: Social and Political Influence of New Media in the Arab World
Call for Chapters
Editor: Aziz Douai
Faculty of Social Science and Humanities
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Email: aziz.douai AT uoit.ca
Editor: Mohamed Ben Moussa
Art School and Humanities
Canadian University of Dubai
m.benmoussa AT cud.ac.ae
Abstract Submission Deadline: October 15, 2013
Notification to Authors: October 30, 2013
Final Paper Submission deadline: February 30, 2014
The popular uprisings in in Arab countries took the world by surprise. Described as the beginning of “the Arab democratic spring”, and likened to the fall of the Arab “Berlin” wall, the wave of protests has galvanized the attention of the world not only because of its transformative political implications for the region, but also because of the alleged central role of the Internet, specifically social media platforms in bringing about the first “Facebook” and “Twitter” revolutions (Wan, 2011), and in empowering “generation 2.0” (Hererra, 2011) to rise against tyranny and defy fear and repression. However, after more than two years since the beginning of the uprisings, and the deposition of several dictators, democratic transition in the region is facing formidable challenges, chief among them political and economic instability, deep polarizations between Islamist and secular/liberal movements, multiple forms of sectarian, ethnic and religious cleavages, in addition to endemic corruption and inefficient governance. These challenges have already shifted into full-blown civil war in Syria and are threatening other countries, such as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Against this background, one key question that needs to be addressed is whether ICTs in general can play a role in promoting civil society, civic culture and trust, bridging political elites to disenchanted young people and the general population, and enhancing governance. In conjunction with this question, there is an urgent need to examine how identity politics is informing and shaping how the notions of civil society, citizenship, and pluralism are imagined and enacted online and the implications thereof for democratic transition in the region. While the outcome of these regional upheavals is still difficult to predict, we believe the time is ripe for a rigorous debate and research into the intersections of the cultural, political and technological issues that led to the “Arab Spring.”
Objectives of the Book
Editors seek innovative contributions that analyze the role of ICTs, particularly the Internet and other new media, in the ongoing upheavals in Arab societies. We are interested in chapters that interrogate the implications of these technologies for cultural expression, and identity building at the individual and collective levels in these societies. Given how new cultural forms of self-expression from rap music to blogging have become intertwined in the Tunisian and the Egyptian revolutions, for instance, we seek contributions on the various linkages between self-expression, self-reflexivity, political dissent and new media discourses in the region. Underscoring the linkages between identity politics, collective action repertoire, political culture, and new communication technologies, this book seeks to examine the Arab new media environment leading to the Arab Spring and its aftermath.
We encourage multidisciplinary approaches that employ social movement theory, cultural studies, radical democracy theory, or network theory, among others, to study and interpret dissent, resistance, collective action, and democratic transition in Arab societies. Other theoretical, empirical and methodology approaches are also welcome. Themes and questions to be considered could include but are not limited to
1) Research that theorizes/applies social movement theory to analyze the “Arab Spring;”
2) Cases studies addressing new cultural forms and Arab/Muslim identities (e.g. hip hop music, digital art, and photography);
3) Critical assessment of youth movement, youth culture, and political consciousness;
4) Case studies addressing ICTs, new media audiences, ethnic minorities and identities;
5) New empirical analyses of ICTs and political Islam/other social movements in the Arab world;
6) Theoretical and empirical assessments of the intersection between new media and gender in the region (e.g. feminist movements, women identities and self-expression);
7) Comparative analyses of new journalism forms in the Arab world (e.g. citizen journalism);
8) Conceptually- and theoretically-informed evaluation of the intersections between new media and democracy in the region;
9) Other approaches that fit with the above themes and contribute to theory building are welcome.
Interested authors should send an abstract of no more than 600 words and a short bio to the Editors’ email addresses by October 15, 2013. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by October 30, 2013 and asked to submit a full chapter of no more than 8,000 words by February 30, 2014.
Chapter proposals must be original work that has not been published. Authors should follow the American Psychological Association (APA) style manual and submit abstracts and chapters in MS Word. All submissions should be sent as email attachments to BOTH editors at aziz.douai AT uoit.ca and m.benmoussa AT cud.ac.ae. All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.