Social Exile and Virtual Hrig: Computer-Mediated Interaction and Cybercafé Culture in Morocco

Social Exile and Virtual Hrig: Computer-Mediated Interaction and Cybercafé Culture in Morocco

Said Graiouid (University Mohammed V. Morocco and Al Akhawayn University, Morocco)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-530-6.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter explores ways in which computer-mediated interaction and cybercafé culture are appropriated by individuals and groups in Morocco. It argues that computer-mediated communication mediates the construction of cybernetic identities and promotes the rehearsal of invented social and gender relations. This inventive accommodation of the Internet (known among young Moroccan Net communicants as “virtual hrig”) makes computer-mediated interaction, especially through the discursive forum of chatrooms and email discussion groups, act as a backtalk to dominant patriarchal and conservative power structures. By using a qualitative ethnographic approach while sounding the depth of the “cultural noises” and incrustations, which are accompanying the expansion of cyber culture, the author also hopes to foreground the prospective implications of New Media and Information Technologies in a non-Western environment. While it is too early to draw conclusions on the extent of the impact of new media technologies on individual subjectivities and group identities, the point is made that cyber interaction is contributing to the expansion of the public sphere in Morocco.

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