ASTK15717U  COURSE: New Media and Politics in the Middle East: Emerging Regional dynamics in the Digital Age

Volume 2017/2018
Education

Valgfag - International Relations, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies
Valgfag - SRM III

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

Content

In the last decade, new media technologies, such social networking sites, have become an integral part of everyday life across the globe, increasingly changing the way in which social relations are assembled and mediated. The role of these technologies in politics became a hotbed for academic debates, often trapped between liberal optimism and Orwellian pessimism. The significance of understanding the political role of these technologies is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the Middle East- a region in which a recent wave of revolutionary movements have radically destabilized entrenched political dynamics. Since the 2011 Tahrir Square events, indeed many have argued that these technologies have emancipatory and democratizing potential, creating a new public sphere for dissemination of information and political engagement. However, in the following years, evidence of the same technologies being also used by authoritarian regimes to crack down on opposition, as well mobilized by terrorist groups to recruit and incite to violence, have significantly curbed this enthusiasm. Moving beyond the optimist pessimist divide, the course will use the latest cutting edge digital methods, to engage the students in theoretical and empirical debates, which will attempt to make sense of the way in which contemporary Middle Eastern politics are assembled and mediated through new media technologies, and how it reshapes the new political terrain in the region.

Learning Outcome

For this purpose, the course will:

 

  1. introduce students to the basic concepts, themes and methodologies in new media research, such as digital methods,
  2. discuss the heterogeneous ways in which new media technologies come into play with politics,
  3. and apply these insights to concrete empiric cases in Middle Eastern politics.

 

Upon completion, the students will be expected to

 

  • Describe the key concepts, theories, and methodologies in new media research and their relevance to politics.
  • Critically reflect upon the strength and weaknesses of these theories and concepts.
  • Apply these insights onto concrete cases, relevant to Middle Eastern politics.

 

The competencies acquired:

 

This course enhances the students’ ability to understand the political role of new media technologies, and the ways in which it can be empirically studied, as well as the broader dynamics of contemporary Middle Eastern politics. As such it will be useful for students who aim at careers both in the public and private sectors, engaging with new media, the Middle East, and global affairs.

(preliminary)

Bramsen, I. Friis, SM, and Tsinovoi, A. (2016) “Introduction: New Media and Conflict in the Middle East”, Politik 19 (4), 4-10.

Said, E. (1987) Orientalism Penguin Books 1-28

Hinnebusch, R. (2002) “The Middle East Regional System” in Hinnebusch, R. and Etheshami, A. The Foreign Policies of Middle East States, Lynne Rienner

O’Reily, T. (2012) “What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”, in Mandiberg, M. (ed.) The Social Media Reader New York University Press: New York.

Kaplan, A and M. Haenlein (2010) “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media” Business Horizons 53: 59-68.

Shirky, C. (2011) “The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, The Public Sphere, and The Political Change” Foreign Affairs 90(1).

  Bakardjieva, M. (2009) “Subactivism: Lifeworld and Politics in the Age of the Internet” The Information Society 25: 91-104.

Punathambekar et al (2014) “Media, activism and the new political: ‘Istanbul conversations’ on new media and left politics” Media, Culture & Society 36 (7): 1045-1056.

Morozov, E. (2011) The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom Public Affairs: New York. p. ix-xvii; 179-203

Dean (2005) “Communicative Capitalism: Circulation and the Foreclosure of Politics” Cultural Politics 1(1):51-74. 

Beer, D. (2009) Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious. New Media& Society 11(6). 985-1002.  

Eriksson, K. (2005) Foucault, Deleuze, and the ontology of networks. The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms 10:6, 595-610

Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, Oxford University Press, p. 1-17.

Rogers, R. (2013) Digital Methods MIT Press: Cambridge. (1-17)

Rupper, E., Law, J. and Savage, M. (2013) Reassembling Social Science Methods: The Challenge of Digital Devices. Theory, Culture& Society 30 (4) 22-46

Rogers, R. (2013) “Mapping public Web space with the Issuecrawler”, in Digital Cognitive Technologies: Epistemology and the Knowledge Economy, eds Bernard Reber, Claire Brossaud, Wiley

Borra, Erik, and Bernhard Rieder. "Programmed method: developing a toolset for capturing and analyzing

tweets." Aslib Journal of Information Management 66.3 (2014): 262-278.

Rieder, Bernhard. "Studying Facebook via data extraction: the Netvizz application."Proceedings of the

5th Annual ACM Web Science Conference. ACM, 2013.

Markham, A. and Buchanan, E. (2012) “Ethical Decision- Making and Internet Research”[http:/​/​aoir.org/​reports/​ethics2.pdf ]

Seib, P. (2012) Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke. 1-12

Zhuo et al (2011) “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?” Peace Magazine : 6-9.

Khatib et al (2012) “Public Diplomacy 2.0: A Case study of the US Digital Outreach Team”,  Middle East Journal 66 (3): 453-472.

Aouragh, M. (2012) Social Media, Mediation and the Arab Spring. triple 10(2): 518-536

Carter, J. (2014) “#Greenbirds: Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighters Networks”, The International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence 

Siapera, E. (2013) “Tweeting #Palestine: Twitter and the mediation of Palestine” International Journal of Culture Studies 17(6): 539-555.

Rogers, R. and Ben-David, A. (2008) The Palestinian-Israeli peace process and trans-national issue networks: the complicated place of the Israeli NGO. New media and society 10. 1 41-72

Friis, S.M. (2015) ‘Beyond anything we have ever seen’: beheading videos and the visibility of violence in the war against ISIS. International Affairs 91 (4): 725-746.

Baumen, Z. et al (2014) “After Snowden: Rethinking the Impact of Surveillance” International Political Sociology 8: 121-144.

Bachelor level in Political Science/ International Relations, and keen interest in Middle Eastern politics and New Media.
Lectures, Guest Lectures and Hands-On Research Workshops
Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Written Assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28