Digital Middle East

State and Society in the Information Age

Edited by

Mohamed Zayani

Assesses government and civil society responses to the digital revolution in the Middle East.

Bibliographic Details
Digital Middle East Paperback
March 2018£25.00

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In recent years, the Middle East’s information and communication landscape has changed dramatically. Increasingly, states, businesses, and citizens are capitalising on the opportunities offered by new technologies, the fast pace of digitisation, and enhanced connectivity. These changes are far from turning Middle Eastern nations into network societies, but their impact is significant. The growing adoption of a wide variety of technologies in everyday life has given rise to complex dynamics that beg for a better understanding.

Digital Middle East sheds a critical light on the continuing changes closely intertwined with the adoption of information and communication technologies in the region. Drawing on case studies from throughout the Middle East, the contributors explore how these digital transformations are playing out in the social, cultural, political, and economic spheres, exposing the various disjunctions and discordances that have marked the advent of the digital Middle East.


Mohamed Zayani is Professor of Critical Theory at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, where he directs the Media and Politics Program. His works include Networked Publics and Digital Contention (winner of the ICA Global Communication and Social Change Best Book Award) and Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings.

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Table of Contents

Mapping the Digital Middle East: Changes and Challenges
Mohamed Zayani


1. The Changing Nature of Socialization among Arab Youth: Insights from Online Practices
Ilhem Allagui

2. Virtual Worlds, Digital Dreams: Imaginary Spaces of Middle Eastern Video Games
Vít Šisler

3. Mediated Experience in the Egyptian Revolution
Mark Allen Peterson

4. Women’s Voices Online: Making Change in the Middle East
Annabelle Sreberny

5. From the Souk to the Cyber-Souk: Acculturating to e-Commerce in the MENA Region
Norhayati Zakaria


6. Domesticating Foreign Intellectual Property Laws in the Digital Age: Of Pirates and Qarsana in the GCC
Suzi Mirgani

7. Working For Free: Hidden Social and Political Economies of the Internet in the Middle East
Jon W. Anderson

8. Digital Rights Activism after the Arab Spring: Internet Governance Politics and the Internet Freedom Proto-Regime
Muzammil M. Hussain

9. Citizenship and Cyber-Politics in Iran
Gholam Khiabany

10. E-Government in the GCC Countries: Promises and Impediments
Damian Radcliffe


‘Mohamed Zayani has gathered an impressive array of experts to analyze the impact of information and communication technologies in Middle Eastern societies. This book will be of great value to anyone interested in the evolution of civic culture in the Middle East.’ — Philip Seib, Professor of Journalism, Public Diplomacy, and International Relations, University of Southern California, author of The Al Jazeera Effect: How the New Global Media Are Reshaping World Politics

‘This is a timely and important book that offers a rich, interpretive and comparative account of how different countries and actors across the Middle East adapted and adopted new media technologies. It will be an important resource for scholars, students and policy-makers interested in understanding digital transformations in the region.’ —Dr Dina Matar, Senior Lecturer in Arab Media and Political Communication, SOAS, author of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication

‘This collection is an important contribution to our understanding of how digital communication is impacting the Middle East. It goes far beyond the classic focus on cyber activism and political change, bringing to the fore the much-needed discussion of digital platforms’ influence on daily practices. Moving away from simplistic binaries, the book presents a pertinent dissection of the new hybrid communication sphere, marked by the coexistence of old and new, conformity and modernism, digital and non-digital.’ — Fatima el-Issawi, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, University of Essex, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Department of International Development, London School of Economics, author of Arab National Media and Political Change: “Recording the Transition”