Buchanan S & Husain Z (2021) The social media use of Muslim women in the Arabian Peninsula: insights into self-protective information behaviours. Journal of Documentation. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-07-2021-0136
Purpose – to provide insight into the social media related information behaviours of Muslim women within Arab society, and to explore issues of societal constraint and control, and impact on behaviours.
Design/methodology/approach – semi-structured interviews with Muslim women resident within the capital city of a nation within the Arabian Peninsula.
Findings – social media provides our participants with an important source of information and social connection, and medium for personal expression. However, use is constrained within sociocultural boundaries, and monitored by husbands and/or male relatives. Pseudonym accounts and carefully managed privacy settings are used to circumvent boundaries and pursue needs, but not without risk of social transgression. We provide evidence of systematic marginalisation, but also of resilience and agency to overcome. Self-protective acts of secrecy and deception are employed to not only cope with small world life, but to also circumvent boundaries and move between social and information worlds.
Research limitations/implications – findings should not be considered representative of Muslim women as a whole as Muslim women are not a homogenous group, and Arabian Peninsula nations variously more conservative or liberal than others.
Practical implications – findings contribute to our conceptual and practical understanding of digital literacy with implications for education programmes including social, moral, and intellectual aspects.
Originality/value – findings contribute to our conceptual and practical understanding of information poverty, evidencing structural inequalities as a major contributory factor, and that self-protective information behaviours, often considered reductive, can also be expansive in nature.
Keywords - information behaviour, information poverty, Muslim women, women’s studies, digital literacy, digital citizenship.
information behaviour; information poverty; Muslim women; women’s studies; digital literacy; digital citizenship
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Journal of Documentation