Gamers Hunters Provocateurs

Gamers Hunters Provocateurs: Digital Mediations of Violence, Gender and Race in the Middle East examines the racial and gendered dynamics of digital knowledge production about issues of human security, sexual violence, and women’s rights in the Middle East after the uprisings of 2011.  The book identifies a shift in thinking about the so-called ‘woman problem’ in the Middle East, from more overtly militaristic discourses following 9/11 to a new prescriptive vision that foregrounds abstract notions of equality, democracy and freedom through religious, social, and political change enabled by social media and other forms of networked communication.  These ‘techno-optimist’ narratives, deployed by a range of actors including states, corporations and NGOs, often mask the disciplinary effects that digital technologies have in shaping communication along racialized and gendered lines, for instance through things like hashtagging, aesthetic arrangements of data, and content moderation.  Rather than simply champion women’s newfound entry into politics and public space through technological innovation developed by proprietary networks, or alternatively dismiss digital technologies and platforms as peripheral to ‘real’ politics on the ground, this book turns a critical eye toward the pervasiveness of the digital in shaping our thinking about the relationship between the Middle East as a geographical space, and women’s bodies as sites of intervention for states, markets, international organizations, and political ideologies.  To this end, the project engages a materialist approach to embodied technical practices and quotidian uses of technology among women in the region in order to highlight particular vulnerabilities and gendered knowledges produced through these interfacings, while at the same time attending to how new media and communications technologies create novel spaces for more pluralist feminist politics across geographical and digital spaces. The sections below provide a brief overview of select chapters in the book.