The Redefinition of Arabism Through Satellite Channels

The Redefinition of Arabism Through Satellite Channels

Duygu Dersan Orhan (Atılım University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8491-9.ch008
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This chapter draws on the new forms of Arabism that are produced by transnational Arab media, mainly satellite channels. It will be discussed whether nationalism is a transitory or a permanent phenomenon. The argument advanced here is that nationalism will persist as long as individuals and the political groups use it as an identification or survival mechanism. The distinction between the old form of Arabism which is considered to be a spent force and the new forms of Arabism produced through transnational Arab media are presented. The perspectives of the scholars claiming that communication channels fueled a new form of Arabism are analyzed. The findings regarding role of satellite channels with a particular focus on Al-Jazeera during the Arab Spring in the contagious nature of the protests and in strengthening the Arab public sphere are noted.
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Nationalism: A Transitory Or Permanent Phenomenon?

The argument if nationalism is a passing phenomenon or has a transcend character brings us to the debate between the modernists and the critiques of the modernists (perennialists, primordialists, and ethno-symbolists). The core of this debate is related with the nations themselves and the degree to which they are, or are not, products of modernity (Halliday, 2000, p.37).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Perennialism: Refers to those who believe that nations have existed whether natural or not as long as humans have lived in society.

Satellite Channel: Particular kind of broadcast delivery based on using space satellites to deliver signals.

Public Sphere: Sites of communicative interaction that feature citizens turning their attention to collective problems.

Pan-Arabism: Political movement and belief system that promotes the idea that all Arabs should unite to form one country or state.

Ethno-Symbolism: Approach developed by Anthony Smith which is concerned with the nature of ethnic groups.

Nationalism: Identification with one's own nation and support for its interests.

Arab Spring: Series of anti-government protests and uprisings that spread across the Middle East in late 2011.

McArabism: Coined by Khalil Rinnawi and refers to a new regional Arab identity formed by globalization.

Primoridalism: Idea that nation and nationalism are old phenomena and so they are natural and universal.

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