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Über dieses Buch

Using a phenomenological and multi-sited ethnographic approach, this book focuses on children’s uses of digital media in three sites—London, Casablanca and Beirut—and situates the study of Arab children and screen media within a wider frame, making connections between local, regional and global media content. The study moves away from a conventional definition of media towards a pluralistic interpretation, and provides key ethnographic findings that reveal how the notion of home is extended across everyday spaces that children occupy. Exploring the relationship between children and media outside of the subject-object hierarchy, it re-connects them in a horizontal mapping of affectivity and intimacy. This book will appeal to scholars specializing in children and the media, digital media, media and cultural studies, media anthropology, philosophy and Middle Eastern studies.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: Arab Children and the Media—Epistemological Topographies of a Nascent Field

Abstract
The introduction to this volume details the rationale, theoretical, and methodological approaches, and problematics of conducting research on and with children in Arab contexts and the diaspora. The introduction positions Arab child populations within the emerging field of Arab media and cultural studies and in relation to—and critique of—the broader Western-based field of children and media studies. It questions the muddied historical trajectory through which each of the categories of ‘Arab’, ‘child’, and ‘audiences’ is constructed and consolidated in Western and non-Western epistemologies. This critique is set against the major socio-political and cultural changes that are tearing down the foundations of Arab nationalist narratives. It is also set against today’s politico-mediascapes that followed the 1990s’ technological boom induced by Arab states’ liberalisation policies, and which turned Arab populations at home and in exile into the most mediatised populations on the globe. Today’s deeper (digital) media penetration has provoked profound and visceral changes to child audiences turned users, in terms of the rapid changes in the array of available screen technology, their varying access to it, and their viewing habits and preferences. The chapter makes the case for articulating new ontological, epistemological, and methodological parameters that allow to clarify what we mean by, and how we engage with, childhoods, Arabness, and related media technologies.
Tarik Sabry, Nisrine Mansour

Chapter 2. The Poetics of Self-Reflexivity: Arab Diasporic Children in London and Media Uses

Abstract
In this chapter, we reflect on the methodological challenges we encountered in London (September–December 2013), conducting family observations and four workshops with young children of Arab origin between the ages of seven and twelve. We contextualise the politics of ‘access and (mis)trust’ within larger debates around othering, racism, and Islamophobia in the UK and engage reflexively with our entanglement as Arab diasporic ethnographers researching Arab diasporic children and their media uses in the UK. Using notes from our ethnographic diaries and evidence from our participant observation, we examine the ways in which British children of Arab origin intentionally perform being-in-the-world by navigating through multiple forms of subjectification and cultural tastes. Interplay between different cultural temporalities and repertoires, we argue, produces and is operated through an agential, mnemonic diasporic habitus.
Tarik Sabry, Nisrine Mansour

Chapter 3. Ethnography as Double-Thrownness: War and the Face of the Sufferer as Media

Abstract
This chapter provides a self-reflexive account of ethnographic research conducted in a Hezbollah-controlled area of Beirut close to the refugee camp, Burj Al-Brajneh. It engages with a Syrian refugee family’s uses of ‘media’ in the household through the unpacking of the political economy of the fear that marks the family’s everydayness. It will especially focus on the ways in which the ethnographers and the interlocutors were caught up in the context of war and the sectarian politics imposed by Hezbollah. Rethinking the whatness of media, this chapter argues that limiting the worldliness of the media to screen-media reinforces the power of the present absence. This chapter also introduces a new methodological concept, inspired by the work of Heidegger, which we call ‘double-thrownness’. We show how our ‘thrownness’ as ethnographers was both traversal and processual. We show how our ethnographic experience in the South of Beirut was implicated in an entanglement where the ontological, ethical, and epistemological collide and interact.
Tarik Sabry, Nisrine Mansour

Chapter 4. Networked World-Making: Children’s Encounters with Media Objects

Abstract
How do screen media transpire through the spatialities, temporalities, and socialities of Arabic-speaking children and their processes of world making? This chapter addresses the complex dynamics of children’s media use and preferences by going back to these everyday mediated encounters to unravel the multiple layering of space and time in relation to the enactment of being as an ‘Arab’ child in the early twenty-first century. The chapter proposes an understanding of media within Latour’s (2005) notion of ‘objects’ as active bearers and explicators of the ‘crushing exercise of power’. It also reconciles Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (ANT) with a phenomenological understanding of cultural encounters used in this volume. Taking a comparative approach across the three field-sites, the chapter interrogates dominant epistemologies around the TV as a central object/medium/device found in established research on Arabic-speaking children’s media use. It opens up the analysis of media use by shifting focus from ‘availability’ to ‘presence’, which allows the exploration of the affective connection between the child user and the media-object within the complex temporalities and spatialities involved in their media use. This approach fleshes out the social-medial ‘assemblages’ shaping the agency of Arabic-speaking children and their media uses.
Tarik Sabry, Nisrine Mansour

Chapter 5. Children, Media as ‘Equipment’ and Worldliness

Abstract
In this chapter, we make use of two further Heideggerian concepts—worldliness and equipment. We show, using evidence from fieldwork with children in the three sites of research, Casablanca, Beirut and London, how Worldliness postulates a distinctive structure. We explore worldliness as a totality in which media is but one constituent, among many, in the everyday lives of the children. We unpack, using different examples from ethnography, the ways in which media technology, and the communicative processes it instigates, can shape children’s ontological experience of being-in-the-world. Thinking with and against Heidegger’s phenomenological approach, we argue that a study of visible ontological phenomena in and by itself fails to capture the complexity of children’s worldliness. While the children use the media texts intentionally for carving out ‘mnemonic’ and agential extensions of self, they also do so, we have observed, within hidden and unequal structures that put them at a disadvantage at the level of creativity, education, and other public service rights as young citizens.
Tarik Sabry, Nisrine Mansour

Chapter 6. Conclusion

Abstract
The conclusion of this volume distils the main conceptual and methodological articulations emerging from the research. It reconciles the Heideggerian concept of ‘thrownness’ with reflexive ethnography to articulate the situatedness of the researcher in the field. It also elaborates on the ethnographic research process that, in and by itself, is worthy of systematic critique and reflection. This process un-conceals a more complex structure that fuses the affective, the empirical, the ethical, and the existential. The chapter then turns to the ethnographic evidence which points to a clear disjunction between ‘Arabness’ as a discursive, pan-Arabist narrative and ‘Arabness’ as a structure of feeling about the world. The ethnographic research uncovered varied and complex media uses by the children in the three sites. Again, Heidegger’s concept ‘equipment’ was borrowed to unpack children’s media uses because, as a concept, it captured the functional ways in which the children used the media that enabled them to extend beyond the confines of their material realities.
Tarik Sabry, Nisrine Mansour

Backmatter

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