Our research investigates the impact of the sudden profusion of internet media and other forms of global communications on family values in Qatar. The majority of mass communications and sociological research has focused on examining the media content and the audience of the media in the United States and Europe. However, documentation on the societal consequences of the dissemination of internet media and other forms of mass communication on Arab, and in particular Gulf countries such as Qatar, remains scarce. The particular placement of Qatar at the heart of the cross-currents of globalization affords a unique opportunity to examine this phenomenon.

This paper attempts to gauge to what degree global communications are driving individualism a modern sense of citizenship and national identity, and to what degree the weakening of family solidarities may have adverse consequences for communal identities and the fabric of households and the nation as a whole.

The centerpiece of our research is a survey that attempts to determine inter-generational and inter-class differentials, evaluating the impact of the global communications revolution on the public discourse on family values, as well as on broader social dynamics within the Qatari nation-state. The sample consisted of 54 respondents. Further, a literature review was set to determine the theoretical framework of whether consumption of global communications leads to greater individualization and cultural homogenization alike.

A pattern of cultural homogenization towards the post-industrial model of greater individualism can be observed in a Qatari society permeated with ICT media, even if we have discerned numerous attempts to streamline and attenuate this overarching process by a set of cultural firewalls.

Our research concluded that Qatar finds itself very much in the twilight zone of modernity, witnessing a bewildering pace of expanding realms of knowledge through ICT and educational institutions, yet still evincing a deep desire to hold on to traditional values and identity references. This study therefore challenges the determinism of modernization, globalization or convergence theories, which predict that traditional norms and worldviews and distinctive national and religious identities will be eroded by the exposure to global streams of knowledge.


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