Georgetown University in Qatar’s (GU-Q) Professor Mohamed Zayani has been awarded the 2016 Global Communication and Social Change Best Book Award from the International Communication Association (ICA). Zayani’s book, Networked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia (Oxford University Press, 2015), is part of the Oxford Studies in Digital Politics Series.
Zayani received his award at the 66th Annual ICA Conference, which was held on 9-13 June 2016 in Fukuoka, Japan, and convened under the theme “communicating with power”. The ICA, which is associated with the United Nations, has more than 4,500 members in 80 countries.
Based on extensive fieldwork and in-depth interviews, the book looks at how the Internet has redefined politics within authoritarian contexts. It explores how popular everyday forms of politics that are woven into new information and communication practices have enabled networked Arab publics to negotiate agency, reconfigure political action, and reimagine citizenship.
Manuel Castells, Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California, described Zayani’s book as “one of the best analyses of the social movements that led to the transformation of the Arab world, and a major contribution to the understanding of social movements of the digital age.”
Commenting on the broader significance of the book, Craig Calhoun, the President of the London School of Economics and Political Science noted: “The rise of digital media has animated new forms of public participation, but translating these into stable expansion of democracy has been a challenge. The case of Tunisia is of global interest, as well as crucial to understanding the Middle East, and Zayani’s Networked Publics and Digital Contention offers a superb analysis.”
Zayani is Professor of Critical Theory and Director of the Media and Politics Program at GU-Q. He is also an Affiliate Faculty with the Georgetown Communication, Culture and Technology Graduate Program (CCT) and co-director of the CCT Summer Institute on Media, Technology and Digital Culture in the Middle East.
Networked Publics and Digital Contention is the first of three book projects that are supported by the Georgetown University Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). Zayani’s book Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings (with CIRS’s Manager and Editor for Publications Suzi Mirgani) will be published by Oxford University Press. Zayani is currently completing a new collaborative book project titled The Digital Middle East.