Tuesday, 9 May 2017...
Since the beginning of the Arab uprisings, the role of various forms of media has figured prominently in discussions about Middle East politics. In the early days of 2011 many talked about a ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter-revolution’. These ‘new’ social media were along with ‘old’ media, such as the satellite-channel al-Jazeera, often perceived in very positive terms as they were thought to unite and empower people by building trust among different groups and promote shared understandings. Today, it is clear that the Arab Uprisings have changed the region, but the emerging ‘new Middle East’ is very different from what many had hoped for. Sectarian divisions in terms of a Shia/Sunni cleavage are currently playing a prominent role both in countries torn apart by civil wars and in those experiencing new and darker forms of authoritarianism. These developments have also led to a re-evaluation of the previously much acclaimed old and new media and brought attention to how their influence is much more ambiguous as these media can also be a tool to divide people, create fear and ignite hate. In order to reach a better understanding of the ambiguous roles media are playing in an increasingly ‘sectarianized’ Middle East, Marc Owen Jones and Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen will in their talks explore and compare how ‘new’ and ‘old’ media are linked to (anti)sectarianism and discuss how this influences Middle East politics today.
The event will be chaired by Morten Valbjørn (Department of Political Science, Aarhus University) and is linked to the inter-disciplinary research project SWAR: Sectarianism in the Wake of the Arab Revolts.
For further information: Morten Valbjørn, e-mail: [email protected]