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Title: Ikhwan web : digital activism and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
Author: D'Urbano, Paolo
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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The research focuses on the practices of digital activism and political communication of the Muslim Brotherhood, examining a selection of meda outlets established by the group before the 25 January revolution. In doing so, it attempts to answer the following research questions: what is the political role of digital technologies? How is one to conceive of the role they play in relation to contemporary social movements? The thesis argues that the political role of new media is to be found in their capacity to store information. Far from merely making claims to authorities or expressing identities, social movements produce knowledges about the territories they inhabit. What new media provide social movements with is the capacity to assemble digital archives, which in turn enable them to organize and produce knowledge. By going online, social movements create archives of their own history, read against the grain others' archives or remember what was arbitrarily removed from them. For keeping memory is never an innocent act, but always an exquisitely political one. Having positioned the theoretical argument in relation to both social movement and new media studies, I will then proceed to apply it to three cases of study. Two chapters will examine and compare the official websites of the Muslim Brotherhood - one in English, the other in Arabic. The last chapter focuses instead on the development of an Ikhwan-related blogosphere. The research argues that the adoption of new media was both beneficial and detrimental to the organization. Digital technologies did help the group in circumventing the obstacles imposed by the regime, yet they equally enabled internally marginalized subjects, such as the youth, to intervene in decisionmaking processes and pierce the ideological veil of unity and cohesion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral