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Title: Twitter, gender and purism in Saudi Arabia : a small-scale study on the decrease of Arabizi in computer-mediated communication, its hidden causes and implications
Author: Alswailim, Fahda
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 0068
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2017
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The initial phases of this research were undertaken in the second half of 2011, at a pivotal moment in the campaign of language purists in Saudi Arabia. The campaign gathered momentum against the widespread use of the chat variety Arabizi in computer-mediated communication. As the research progressed towards its final stages of completion (between 2012 and 2014), the moral panic surrounding Arabizi as a threat to the Arabic language or to Suadi identity gradually diminished. This development was paralleled with a notable decrease of Arabizi. Partly enabled by the introduction of the Arabic keyboard in new media technologies, Arabizi became obsolete in Saudi socia media content. The objective of this research is to establish a counter-narrative on the hidden causes and implications of the gradual obsolescence of Arabizi, looking closely at social-media content generated by a small sample of Saudi female Twitter users. The research applies mixed-method approaches to data collection and analysis in computer- mediated discourse analysis (CMDA) and digital ethnography. The results of this study show a correlation between Arabic-only or English-only content generated by female users, off-line gender segregated spaces, and the position of language purists against all forms of linguistic miscegenation or hybrid language varieties. This research concludes that a critical reappraisal of the moral panic surrounding Arabizi and its obsolescence in user-generated content in Saudi Arabia, contrasted with its continued use in other parts of the Arab speaking world, is pivotal to understand how gender, language purism, national-Islamic identification, and misconceived notions about the neutrality of media technology work as mutually supporting structures of power and privilege.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: King Saud University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Communication, cultural and media studies ; Middle Eastern and African studies