Bernardi C (2015) Digital Media and women's issues in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Doctor of Philosophy. University of Warwick.
This thesis investigates how digital media participate in and contribute to the emergence and discussion of women’s issues in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in complex intersections of online and offline activity. Specific focus is placed on digital media’s intrinsic complexity and agency, and their interplay with socio-political, economic, legal, and cultural practices. I will specifically ask questions such as, how does an issue work through technological forms of development, and how is it techno-socio-political? How do digital media enrich, reshape, and co-constitute women’s issues in Egypt and Saudi Arabia? In answering these questions, I explore how certain women’s issues are formed, emerge, and become central in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. These explorations involve a reflection on the computational turn of current cultural and social practices2 and the significance of algorithms and software in the making of our socio-cultural realities. They also necessitate an understanding of the countries’ locales, accounts of women’s movements, struggles, and discourses that, inevitably, involve Islamic Tradition. Asking such questions also means exploring how online activities enrich current discourses of women and gender studies in a Middle Eastern context. The resulting work sits In between a number of disciplines and approaches and calls for a bespoke conceptual and methodological approach, built on a combination of methodologies, including close reading of history and literature on the topic, and qualitative and quantitative analysis of digital content through digital media tools. For this purpose I have employed software such as Gephi, Netvizz, and MOZ SERP. Moving beyond an understanding of media as a tool and construing them as constitutive parts of an entangled network made of heterogeneous actants, I introduce the concept of a multi-layered and networked map. This concept is a mode of investigation and a tool of analysis that seeks to understand and discuss the diverse and continuous transformations of certain women’s issues in these two countries as they emerge and evolve online. The visualisations of the quantitative part of my analysis are published on the website that I have created, available at http://www.oxycoms.com/clb. This thesis tries to find a location at the intersection of digital media, gender studies, and studies of the Middle East. At times, specific problematic aspects of each field are at odds with each other, and I attend to the ways in which they touch and contradict each other. Through the concept of the multi-layered and networked map I will trace and follow the intersection of theoretical thoughts, accounts of women’s activities and movements, online activities, and findings of the new methodologies and tools of online social networking analysis. I will discuss how they combine and coalesce, bringing to life what I address as technowomen. I hope to contribute to the current theoretical and methodological discussions in digital media, media, and cultural studies, to discussions in women and gender studies on the digitised reality of movements and activities.
If using the dataset or the methodology: just cite me!
Available at EThOS:
|Institution||University of Warwick|
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|