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The Internet In The Middle East: Global Expectations And Local Imaginations In Kuwait (Suny Series in Computer-Mediated Communication) Hardcover – November, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series in Computer-Mediated Communication
  • Hardcover: 241 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr (November 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791465853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791465851
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,255,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Williamson III on November 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dr. Wheeler's analysis of the impact of the internet on Islamic culture is sparklingly intelligent. She delivers profound and detailed information on the topic, while at the same time drawing the reader into a dynamic and energized discourse. This is a must-read for anyone interested in Mid-East Studies, Women's Studies, Internet Studies, or even more broadly, for anyone interested in the contemporary socio-political global environment.
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This is a solid piece of work that might normally have been a 4 but it surprised me just enough to warrant taking it to a 5. I love unconventional wisdom and seeing solid proof that conventional wisdom -- in this case, "The Internet changes everything for the better" questioned.

I read this book on the same flight as I read Richard Wolff's Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) and this is the second reason I will place the book at five: while the Internet does NOT change everything for the better, especially in the case of women and youth in Kuwait, it IS "occupied," is does blur the line between the user and the producer, and it does offer a model for new forms of social and economic organization. In a strange way I could not have anticipated, these two books complement each other.

The bottom line in this excellent book is that the Internet ALONE is NOT transformative, and that ideo-cultural and socio-economic contexts can severely inhibit its impact and misdirect its utilization. Kuwait, a form of monarchic socialism in which there are both a lack of trust (great fear of speaking honestly in true name in any forum online or offline) and a government ability to censor, surveil, and punish, is a textbook case in Internet emergence under severe handicap.

I have to remind myself that this book was written before the Arab Spring and before twitter, facebook, and Internet access and anonymnity break-throught were elevated by Egyptian activists to a new level of art.
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