MESA - Middle East Studies Association

MESA 2018 Member Calls for Participation

Name of Organizer

Zeynep Atalay

Email

za4@stmarys-ca.edu

Proposed Session Title

Civil Society and Governance in the Middle East

Session Description
Although civil society has not lost its popularity in academic and policy circles, its once presumed democratizing capacity of civil society has been fiercely criticized since its heyday in the immediate post-Cold War era. Recent scholarship on civil society in the Middle East has moved away from analyzing the basic question of whether, and if so how NGOs contribute to democratization, and have instead begun to analyze how civil society organizations impact the governance of society and economy. Civic organizations have a wide range of political consequences: they might legitimate authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regimes; act as a part of corporate and clientelistic networks; provide social services; and serve as a venue for activism, protest and community-building.

This panel aims to bring together innovative analyses of state-civil society relationships in the Middle East with a particular focus on the new forms of governance, as well as the formation and transformation of subjectivities, identities and communities as civil society organizations become key players in the region. We are interested in studies that examine the implications of state - civil society partnerships in a wide range of policy arenas including poverty alleviation, education, employment and social inclusion, women and gender equality, refugee integration, and environmental sustainability. Papers can focus on a single country or compare different countries within the region. Deadline for abstracts is February 1st, 2018. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words including key references. For papers selected for the panel, full drafts will be due mid-October 2018. Please send your abstracts to Zeynep Atalay (za4@stmarys-ca.edu) and Gizem Zencirci (fzencirc@providence.edu)

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 01, 2018

Name of Organizer

Jocelyn Mitchell

Email

jocelyn.mitchell@northwestern.edu

Proposed Session Title

The Online Public Sphere in the Gulf: Disagreement, Dialogue, Creativity, and Change

Session Description
The online public sphere matters. Digital communication technologies and platforms increasingly shape the world’s politics, society, economics, and culture—and the Middle East is no exception (e.g., Howard and Hussain 2013; Zayani 2015). The Gulf region has some of the highest rates of internet penetration in the Middle East (between 93–100% of the national population) and also some of the highest rates of social media use, including Twitter (Dennis, Martin, and Wood 2016). Nonetheless, the online public sphere remains an understudied aspect of politics in the Gulf.

In this panel, we are interested in exploring how online media has changed the region’s politics, economies, and social norms. Building on Marshall McLuhan (1969), who described the Global Village as a place defined by disunity and the inevitable clash of conflicting forces, our panel aims to investigate the Gulf’s online public sphere, which, like the Global Village, arose out of instantaneous communication technologies and is defined as much by conflict as it is by cooperation. How has the online public sphere created new opportunities for nationals and expatriates to form new social movements, spark dialogue on key issues, and to bring about tangible change? How has it influenced policy making and state-society relations? How have national leaders and governments utilized the online public sphere to communicate with their own citizens, neighboring states, and the region’s diverse populations? How have specific groups, such as women or Islamists, used online media to voice their opinions and effect desired change? How has the recent diplomatic crisis further politicized the online sphere and impacted social and political attitudes and behaviors in the region? And what insights can academic work on the Gulf provide to the region, and the world, about the power of the online public sphere?

Our call for papers seeks contributions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, and cases that explore the various actors, agendas, and uses of the online public sphere in the Gulf. We welcome new work that explores the ramifications of the diplomatic crisis, but we also welcome work that looks beyond current events to longer-term trends, such as the use of online space for previously marginalized or underrepresented individuals or groups (e.g., the artist community, women, or non-citizens), as well as other aspects of online communication, politicization, and persuasion.

Our panel will prioritize interaction with the audience, so participants should be willing to limit their presentations to 10 minutes. Please email us your name, email address, academic affiliation, and a 400-word abstract by Monday, February 5, 2018. Contact the organizers with any questions: Jocelyn Sage Mitchell (jocelyn.mitchell@northwestern.edu) and Sean Foley (Sean.Foley@mtsu.edu).

Name of Organizer

 

Email

 

Proposed Session Title

 

Session Description

Deadline Date for Abstracts

 



 Start of Page