Political ‘apptivism’ in the Middle East: The case of iNakba

Oren Golan, Noam Tirosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of social media in the Arab world has drawn an increasing amount of scholarly attention. Research addressing ‘Arab Spring’ upheavals and Islamic military movements has demonstrated grassroots level and often spontaneous uses of social media platforms. However, little attention has been paid to political apps as an emergent means of communication. Specifically, this study asks how users and developers view the use of political apps within the Israeli–Palestinian context by focusing on iNakba – an app that enables users to navigate Palestinian villages that were destroyed during the 1948 war and its aftermath. Ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative analysis of interviews with iNakba users and developers uncover three key facets of the app: (1) crowd mobilization, (2) educational tool that reanimates the invisible landscape of pre-1948 Palestine, and (3) promoting the Palestinian narrative. The study illuminates the role of political apps as agents of change for identity building and shaping users’ political consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-673
Number of pages16
JournalConvergence
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Collective memory
  • GOS
  • Israeli–Arab conflict
  • Middle East politics
  • Palestinian media
  • mobile activism
  • mobile applications
  • mobile media
  • online communities
  • politics and media

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