The Nature and Impact of the Arabic Blogosphere: What Kind of Publics?


Duration: 2010 – 2012

Research Areas
Media and Communication Studies


For years now, scholars have recognized that globalisation and media studies have been Western-centric, yet the new media studies literature still focuses on the Western democracies, with just a few exceptions exploring the Chinese and Iranian blogospheres (Abdulla, 2007; Tai, 2006; Khiabany & Sreberny, 2007). This study traces the rise of blogs in four Arabic countries and asks whether we can speak of emerging ?counter-public spheres?, transcending national and political/cultural boundaries and blurring the lines between the formal and informal, the private and the public, entertainment and politics. Drawing on different theories, we aim to develop a model for the ways these blogging communities are redefining Arabic mediacapes. We will formulate ?criteria of influence? in order to select a number of blogs for analysis and comparison, asking to what extent these blogs stretch political, cultural and linguistic norms for what can be said in various public spheres. What relationships do these blogs have to each other, to the region and to the diaspora in the West? Finally, we will focus specially on several influential female bloggers from the vantage point of women being able to exercise agency. With the help of interviews and textual analysis we will ask whether women?s motives, narratives and interest in political and cultural debates differ from their male compatriots.

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