In this talk, I specify three arenas of inquiry for interrogating the “digital age,” and explore the relevancy of these arenas for contemporary politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We begin by reflecting on implicit assumptions undergirding several kinds of investigation into digital technologies and their intersections with social movements and political events in the MENA since the Arab Spring. I suggest that impact studies should move beyond replicating “optimistic” versus “pessimistic” hypotheses in deductive forms of investigation, and develop richer inductive comparative case studies to more thoroughly chart the long-term processes, politics, and consequences of digital infrastructure adoption in the MENA. I then discuss the uses and pitfalls of communication technologies during moments of political upheaval, but also the transnational political economy of digital infrastructure, which has had long-term and far-reaching consequences for the digital media landscape in the MENA. I conclude by drawing attention to a currently under-examined but important aspect of digital politics since the Arab Spring, namely, the substantive international efforts, now involving advanced Western democratic states, to promote “Internet freedom” in the region. I recommend that future scholarship on the topic should help broaden the scope of democratization studies by encouraging critical inquiry on how these technologies and the infrastructure undergirding them were developed in the first place and on the international politics now surrounding global media and communication technologies in the region.
|27 Haziran 2015||18:00||İLEM Konferans Salonu|