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Abstract

Recent studies have examined how Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) have reshaped the notions of space and time, compelling us to reconsider the local and the global as well as modernity and tradition (Hackett 2006, 67?76)[1]. In examining the relation between female movements and Islamic societies in a multidimensional, transnational world, scholars are asked to trespass the boundaries of well-established academic dichotomies: Western and non-Western, public and private, religious and secular, piety and agency. We delineate how new generations of Syrian women have managed, individually or through national and transnational networks, to create new forms of engaged visibilities in the pre-revolution Syrian cyber public space. The study of an increasingly popular blogosphere (see Hookway, 2008; Amir Ebrahimi, 2008; Elting, Kelly, Faris, Palfrey, 2009; Fahmi, 2009)[2] in the pre-war Syria allowed to contact secular activists looking for new spaces to promote their egalitarian messages as well as with religious militants willing to create new religious counterspaces where to unveil their hidden selves. Through the life stories narrated by bloggers, as primary sources in Understanding social life (Plummer, 2001)[3], this research lays out a basic pathway for exploring how the use and shaping of the virtual open space influenced and modified the debate between secularity and islamization in the Syrian public sphere. In the offline pre-war Syrian reality, the urban space intended as a sum of multiple spaces (male and female, religious and secular, mahrem – prohibited – and non mahrem) was a barometer measuring the female visibility and consequently the extent of female emancipation. The social political reforms actuated since 1963, opened up the gates of the urban public sphere to women, allowing them to leave autonomously their secured home space and to infringe the boundaries of their mahrem society. As in many other Muslim realities, this vertical political emancipation affected only in part the social substrata and de facto it was assimilated mainly by the urban, social and intellectual elite which had always prided itself on a certain liberal spirit. Nowadays, the space that the ICT and CMC have opened up to women is incomparably wider. From the privacy of their rooms or the exposed confidentiality of an Internet coffee, they have been able to evade the confines of their nation-state through their global connections while transgressing the limits of their traditional society. In other words, through Internet and its virtual connections, they not only have assured their places in the new public space but are also using their virtual emancipation to acquire a stronger position in the offline public sphere. One of the most efficacious mean to express opinions, offer inside views and manage information and retransmitting them, is the blog.

References

[1] R. I. J HACKETT.,“Religion and the Internet”, Diogenes, August 2006, p. 67–76 Sage Publications, online version at http://dio.sagepub.com (accessed 9 October, 2009).

[2] B. ELTING, J. KELLY, R. FARIS, J. PALFREY, “Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent”, Berkman Center Research Publication, June 2009, online version at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publications/2009/Mapping_the_Arabic_Blogosphere

[3] K. PLUMMER, “Documents of Life 2, an invitation to a critical humanism”, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Sage, 2001.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHAPP2382
2016-03-21
2020-09-20
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