Blogging in Lebanon: Production context, Publicness and Ethos
Stipendiat ved Institutt for kulturstudier og orientalske språk (IKOS)
The Lebanese blogosphere is known for being especially active in political crisis, as in the Independence Intifada of 2005 or in the July War in 2006. Ever since then, a wide range of Lebanese bloggers have been continuously commenting on social issues, mocking political discussions, and posting about cultural events, especially in the capital. Their blogs are often both personal and political, journal-like and journalistic, and they are making it difficult to maintain the classical distinction between the blogging genres.
My PhD project analyzes blogging in Lebanon as a “social field and domain of practice” (Postill 2008:14). This approach allows a shift of focus – from the search for the realization of a Habermasian public sphere and for the direct political impact of blogging – to the dynamics and differentiation of contemporary publics. The research focuses on the context of production of blogs in a broad sense: what are the economic, social and cultural “conditions of production” for blogs in Lebanon? For the aim of the project, I follow a loose group of “intensive” bloggers through their on- and offline activities for about two years. What are their ways of going and being public and what are the rewards of engaging in this particular media practice? Furthermore I shed light on their ‘ethos’ of blogging: What do they understand as “good blogging” and what do they perceive as specifics of the Lebanese case within the regional context? Methodological, I follow an anthropological approach, combining participant observation with online ethnography.