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

Volume 2017/2018

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

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS


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.


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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
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
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