Travel Scholarship Recipient #AoIR2018 – Skina Ehdeed
Each year, through the generous donations of AoIR conference attendees, we are able to fund several travel scholarships for junior scholars to attend the conference. We want to recognize our scholarship recipients and share with you a little bit about them and their interests.
My name is Skina Ehdeed. Call me Sukaina :). I am PhD. Student in the Information School at the University of Sheffield, UK, working under the supervision of Jo Bates and Andrew Cox. I am a member of the Digital Societies Research Group. I am also a member of AOIR.
My twitter name is: @sukainana
Where are you from?
I am from Libya
What is your current area of study?
My study explores the role of social media and networked publics in the contemporary uprisings that swept the Arab countries in late 2010 early 2011, with a special focus on the Libyan uprising.
Describe the research you will present at #AoIR2018.
Title: The Emergence of a Libyan Networked Publics: Social Media Use During and After the Libyan Uprising
This study aims to develop a better understanding of the role of social media during the Libyan uprising and the post-uprising period (2011-2016), seeking to explore its potential contribution to Libya’s emergent digital public sphere. The study draws on different conceptualizations and critiques of the public sphere and networked publics. The research shows that during the Libyan uprising although only small groups of people inside the country were engaged in online activities, such networks helped them to make a difference and keep everyone up to date at this crucial moment in a highly repressive environment. Social media complemented by traditional media was mainly used to publicise the rebels’ actions and activities, thus increasing their visibility, which fundamentally challenged Libya’s existing closed public sphere by bringing in new voices.
In the post-uprising period, social media played an important role as a new source of information; even for those who were not very active in the post-2011 political debates and activities. Social media have been instrumental in educating people and raising their awareness about diverse political issues regarding Libya’s political transition, after decades of political apathy and oppression under the previous regime.
More recently, use of social media reflects that Libyan society has become more ideologically fragmented as the struggle for power escalated, producing a more complex dynamic that is more inclusive of competing and overlapping publics. However, the analysis shows increasing fear of expressing views in public, and a growing lack of political interest among participants for many reasons, mainly due to the growing uncertainty of Libya’s situation and its troubled transition.
Contribution to the discipline:
This study aims to contribute to knowledge in two ways: first, to add to a growing body of empirical research about social media’s democratic potential and its limitations. Secondly, it deepens academic understanding of young Libyans’ uses of social media, including their experiences and attitudes in the realm of contemporary social movements, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where the role of social media seems to be developing constantly.
Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2018 Montréal is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference? What do you expect from it?
#AoIR2018 Montréal will be my first AoIR conference. I am very keen to attend the #AoIR2018 conference this year because of many reasons:
First, as The Association of Internet Researchers is committed to supporting diversity and inclusivity both within internet research and beyond regardless of race, age, culture, ability, ethnicity or nationality, it is impossible to walk away from a conference like this without both broadening and deepening one’s knowledge.
Second, I have a desire to discuss my ongoing research with mentors and other Ph.D. students in a constructively critical atmosphere. In addition, as I am engaging within traumatic and sensitive research themes, I am interested to meet people who have engaged in similar upsetting or traumatic study and would like to discuss, share experiences and resources to self-manage this.