Anonymous, 13 Dec 2017
Online Journal of the Virtual Middle East
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CyberOrient is published by the American Anthropological Association and the Faculty of Arts of Charles University.
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Vol. 11, Iss. 1, 2017


Middle Eastern Women’s ‘Glocal’: Journeying between the Online and Public Spheres

Despite the fact that the Arab Spring did not necessarily materialize with the political effects anticipated by some of its activists, it has brought into the spotlight the significance of the role of women in direct connection to the online space. In this respect, the article addresses the online world as Middle Eastern women subcultural capital in their traversal to the public sphere, which is otherwise rigorously enforced particularly on women. The hybridity of the private and the public exemplified in the online world in effect plays a pivotal role in rendering the visibility of Middle Eastern women in the political public sphere possible, where new media provides an effective vehicle for those women to establish social and political networks and organizations. Though the goals for those women activists might vary based on the nature of their countries, they have shown to have aptly journeyed between the online and public spheres in order to voice their glocal experiences.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 1, 2017

Saudi Women and Socio-Digital Technologies: Reconfiguring Identities

Drawing on research conducted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this paper explores the specific uses of digital technologies by Saudi women. It shows how these women – whose gender identity is strongly constrained by a host of social and religious norms characterizing Saudi society – make use of digital technologies, and particularly mobile telephones. The various applications available for mobile telephony open up to them a whole range of choices on how to communicate and use photography, thus enabling them to circumvent their assigned gender identity, at least at the margin.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 1, 2017

Science and Islam Videos: Creating a Methodology to Find “All” Unique Internet Videos

This methodology article explores the process through which we sought to catalogue videos addressing natural science and Islam on the Internet comprehensively. This data was then used to select videos for inclusion in the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies’ Science and Islam Video Portal (, which evaluates the videos based on their representations of science, Islam and history. As a growing body of research is demonstrating, Internet videos provide a window into the lives of both celebrity and ordinary Muslims and their critics worldwide. The article describes the methodological decisions of what to include and exclude from the study, framing them in a discussion of some of the key terms. We then step through the process of searching for videos and cleaning the data, providing flow charts with details. In the last section of the article, we discuss the results and their ramifications on our continuing research.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 1, 2017

Youth Activism and Social Networks in Egypt

The arrival of the Internet-based technologies has made the work of professional activists much more effective and has attracted the attention of society and observers, if only because their internal and external communications became much cheaper and harder to be monitored. The new social networking technologies have provided the youth with new channels for participation and empowerment. This became true in a part of the world where the older generations, in either government or opposition, controlled the traditional political and cultural arena and dominated the public sphere. However, the younger generations gradually launched creative initiatives using online media in recent years. The younger generations have engaged in public affairs by peaceful means to bring about a change and to influence the decision-making processes and policies. In this regard, the new social media played a facilitating role in the long wave of continuous politics in Egypt, although it is not a causal role. It basically helped in the mobilization and framing process aiming to delegitimize the regime and demoralize its policies. The ideas and ideologies spread in the public sphere, and, in addition to grievances, enabled the young activists to present new claims and to behave in ways that fundamentally challenged the authorities. Indeed the social media impact could not lead to real change without physical offline action in society. In this respect the most notable actions, such as the April 6 Strike in El Mahala 2008 and January 25 revolution, were triggered by the marriage between online and offline activism, particularly when activists moved smartly between online and offline activities to create real challenges to the regime and to escape from police repression.
CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 1, 2017