Nine Years After the Toppling of Hosny Mubarak

By Dounia Mahlouly|March 15, 2020|Arab uprisings, Digital cultures, Social media, The Middle East|0 comments

By Hossam Fazalla and Dounia Mahlouly Nine years after the toppling of Hosny Mubarak, the 91-year-old ousted Egyptian president passed away. The news was met with emotional confusion and mixed feelings by Egyptians. It is the death of the man whose face was in every Egyptian classroom, who was considered a war hero, and yet, it is also the death of the dictator who ruled for 30 years, and whose hands

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What does it mean to “muck in?”

By Matti Pohjonen|March 9, 2020|AI, Digital cultures, Research|0 comments

Environmental philosopher Timothy Morton criticises what he calls a “beautiful soul syndrome” sometimes still prevalent in Academia. By this he refers to a kind of critical attitude that tries to look at the world from the safety of detachment, without getting one’s hands dirty, without compromising one’s own ideological purity. He writes that a truly theoretical approach is not allowed to sit smugly outside the area it is examining. It must mix thoroughly

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Politics of seeing

By Matti Pohjonen|February 12, 2020|AI, Digital cultures, India, Research, Social media|

“Knowledge is a practical assemblage, a ‘mechanism’ of statements and visibilities.”  — Deleuze People often ask why I bother learning the algorithms and technologies that drive today’s AI innovations – I am a digital anthropologist after all and not a hard-baked computer scientist.  Should I just not focus on the bread-and-butter of qualitative research – thick description, deep contextual knowledge of cultures, in-depth understanding of the nuances of language –

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Birthright, Birthwrong: Representations of Jewish Diaspora in Online Media

By Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad|September 6, 2019|Digital cultures, The Middle East|0 comments

Emma Jacobs explores competing discourses of identity on two Jewish websites. Emma did a module on Transnational Communities and Diasporic media in 2018/19 academic year. Image credit: “Birthright Israel: Bus 423” by HRYMX is licensed under CC BY 2.0  As a genre of travel, Birthright Israel—a free ten-day trip to Israel for Jewish young adults, funded by the Israeli government, Zionist organizations, and private donors—sits at a strange point of

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Global Digital Cultures and Extreme Speech

By Matti Pohjonen|July 15, 2019|Digital cultures, Extreme speech, Research|0 comments

I am glad to announce the publication of a Special Issue on Global Digital Cultures and Extreme Speech published in the International Journal of Communication.  This is the outcome of a five-year collaboration with colleagues across the world committed to advancing a more comparative perspective to ongoing debates on online hate speech and violent online political extremism — and most notably collaboration with Professor Sahana Udupa at the Digital Dignity Project, at LMU

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Should robots control what we read?

By Matti Pohjonen|July 4, 2019|AI, Digital cultures, Extreme speech, India, Research, Social media|0 comments

For somebody who has been following digital politics globally for more than a decade now, it is sometimes uncanny how hateful, violent and misleading communication – or at least the public and political controversies and moral panics around them – now dominates the global political landscape. Digital media, it seems, is imagined in mostly terms of the dangers it poses: violent extremist propaganda run amok; democratic processes corrupted by disinformation

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Student showcase: “The Digital Identity”

By Matti Pohjonen|June 11, 2019|Digital cultures, Research, Students, Video|1 comments

As a part of the course work at the Centre for Global Media and Communication, we encourage students to explore old academic debates in new and creative ways.  For instance, in the Global Digital Cultures MA degree that I convene, this option has been built into the digital assignments that students engage with throughout the year.  Such assignments allow the students both a breather from more rigid classical form of academic

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Artifical Intelligence in Ethiopia? Yes. Really.

By Matti Pohjonen|June 7, 2019|AI, Digital cultures, Latest news, Research|

When I boldly announce to people that I am starting new research on artificial intelligence (AI) in Ethiopia, a common response to this has been: “Ethiopia?  AI? But why there?” My response to this has usually been: “Oh, exactly because this question gets asked!” Indeed, breakthrough advancement in AI technology is predicted to transform every aspect of how people live, work and communicate globally.  These debates about what the digital

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Social media and shifting perspectives on security challenges to migration and human trafficking

By Dounia Mahlouly|May 10, 2019|Digital cultures, Latest news, Research, Social media|0 comments

Is there a role social media can play in shifting perspectives on security challenges and approaches to migrant smuggling and human-trafficking in North Africa?  Such a question, I suggest, is becoming more relevant because security perspectives and policies, particularly in the context of migration, are taking shape in a climate of anti-immigration sentiment, racism and xenophobia, which feeds into the securitisation of the humanitarian crisis around North African migration. So

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Social media and political polarisation

By Matti Pohjonen|May 9, 2019|Digital cultures, Extreme speech, Research|0 comments

Recent attacks in Christchurch and Sri Lanka have added fuel to the debate about how to resolve what has been described as one of the most intractable problems of the contemporary world – the spread of hate/hateful speech online. However, as some of our recent research  shows, what perhaps is a more intractable  (and often overlooked) problem than merely removing aggressive or hateful comments from social media is the challenge of

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