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Peer Reviewed Scholarship

ISIS’s Euro-American Fighters: Western Failures and the Narratives of Denial

This article centers on the influx of Western fighters joining ISIS and locates its root causes in systemic and structural forms of alienation, discrimination, and Islamophobia. In Western discourse, understanding this phenomenon is characterized by a sense of denial that limits the interpretive paradigms to one of two approaches: either a racial discourse that confines the debate to antagonistic minoritized citizens with ambiguous loyalties and an inherent vulnerability for radicalism, or the powerful “glamour” of ISIS’s propagandist spectacles that western media cannot dispel.

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Threat of the Downtrodden: The Framing of Arab Refugees on CNN

After September 11, 2001 Arabs and Muslims became the topic of interest for the global media, drawing attention from news outlets worldwide. Recently, the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) along with civil wars in the Arab region have forced hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens, particularly from Syria and Iraq, to flee their homelands. The resulting refugee crisis drew substantial attention and debate. Therefore, studying the framing of Arab refugees and asylum seekers in the global media is of notable significance, especially in connection to ISIS, the war on terrorism, and the upheaval in the Middle East.

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Social Media in Syria’s Uprising and Post-Revolution Libya: An Analysis of Activists’ and Blogger’s Online Engagement

Masudul Biswas and Carrie Sipes perform a comparative content analysis of Twitter and Facebook posts from a sample of Syrian and Libyan activist groups. By considering online content in the context of post-revolution Libya and the continuing upheaval in Syria, the authors shed new light on online activist agenda-setting. They find that while social media is used as a tool to maintain and expand momentum during revolution, in a post-revolution climate the same media serves as a venue for idea-sharing and political discourse.

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Digital Activism: Efficacies and Burdens of Social Media for Civic Activism

In a comprehensive study of social media usage among social movement organizations in Lebanon, Jad Melki and Sarah Mallat investigate the efficacy of digital technology as a tool for activism. The authors find that while social media platforms offer a number of perceived benefits to activism work, there remain significant obstacles that manifest both on and offline.

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The Discourse of Egyptian Slogans: from ‘Long Live Sir’ to ‘Down with the Dictator’

El Mustapha Lahlali investigates the power of political slogans in Egypt. By revisiting the discourse of early 2011 and surgically analyzing the linguistic content of a wide array of slogans, Lahlali offers new insight into the political, social and religious undercurrents that reverberated through the country during this time. Lahlali points to a period characterized by the democratization of discourse, which he argues, disappeared as rapidly as it emerged.

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Mubarak Framed! Humor and Political Activism before and during the Egyptian Revolution

In an entertaining and insightful read, Deepa Anagondahalli and Sahar Khamis delve into the world of Egyptian political humor, unpacking its historical roots and reflecting on its evolution from private banter to public resistance. Focusing on Mubarak’s presidency and subsequent ouster, the authors identify a stark shift from long narrative jokes, to the biting “weaponized” one-liners that emerged in his final days. Humor, they conclude, is a paradoxical yet powerful tool for activism, which despite more recent crackdowns has proven to be a relatively safe platform for dissent.

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Navigating the Ethics of Citizen Video: The Case of a Sexual Assault in Egypt

Using video of a sexual assault in Tahrir Square as a case study, Madeleine Bair discusses the ethical and logistical considerations of citizen video as a means for social documentation. Bair points to the emergent challenges including reliability, consent, preservation and security, as citizen videos are sourced with increasing regularity by both new and traditional media. The Egyptian video, which sparked national change and international outrage, is a striking example of how citizen video can both shine light on an issue and stir controversy.

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