Anonymous, 18 Oct 2018
Online Journal of the Virtual Middle East
CyberOrient is a peer-reviewed online journal of the virtual Middle East.
editorial board
Daniel Martin Varisco

Managing Editor:
Vit Sisler
Submissions are welcome from scholars in any discipline.
Deadline for Vol. 12, Iss. 1 is April 20, 2018.
about us
CyberOrient is published by the American Anthropological Association and the Faculty of Arts of Charles University.
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Vol. 11, Iss. 2, 2017


Behind the Screen: the Syrian Virtual Resistance

Six years have gone by since the political upheaval that swept through many Middle East and North African (MENA) countries begun. Syria was caught in the grip of this revolutionary moment, one that drove the country from a peaceful popular mobilisation to a deadly fratricide civil war with no apparent way out. This paper provides an alternative approach to the study of the root causes of the Syrian uprising by examining the impact that the development of new media had in reconstructing forms of collective action and social mobilisation in pre-revolutionary Syria. By providing evidence of a number of significant initiatives, campaigns and acts of contentious politics that occurred between 2000 and 2011, this paper shows how, prior to 2011, scholarly work on Syria has not given sufficient theoretical and empirical consideration to the development of expressions of dissent and resilience of its cyberspace and to the informal and hybrid civic engagement they produced.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 2, 2017

Big Data in the MENA Region: The Next Path towards Socio-economic and Cultural Development

As elsewhere, big data is perceived as central to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) nations’ socio-economic and cultural development. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, by virtue of its advanced information technology infrastructure, relevant knowledge economy policies and flexible free government and market orientations, stands at the forefront of MENA’s big data integration. This article discusses selected sectors in the GCC region that leverage the power of big data including the media business industries and the oil and gas industry. The authors argue that in addition to bolstering big data applications in the aforementioned sectors, MENA countries also need to ensure that those applications embrace other sectors like education, government services and cultural development. Yet, to be able to achieve those goals, the region needs to address numerous challenges pertaining to knowledge infrastructure, human capital, technology mindset and regulation.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 2, 2017


Transnational Religious Practices on Facebook

Access to cyberspace by Yezidi populations has given this group a platform for rebuilding their religious identity, which, in turn, has enabled them to challenge existing geographic, political and cultural constraints in Iraq. The Yezidi in Iraq have to live with the threat of discrimination and even violence. On the Internet, self-identification as Yezidi is done much more freely. The rise of the Yezidi in Iraqi media and in foreign media (via the diaspora) is closely interconnected. Experiences of persecution and of persistent libel and prejudice by the Muslim majority has forced the Yezidi to adopt distinctive religious practices due to forced migration to foreign countries. This article is an exploration of whether notions of sacred spaces and perceptions and practices of religious rituals are transformed in digital media, i.e. when moving from physical to virtual spaces. I will do this by applying visualization through visual imagery and virtual ethnography. This paper represents a theory on the Internet and religion: asking what implications the Internet holds for spiritual identities, worship and sense of ethno-religious community.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 2, 2017