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Journal Article

The Egyptian Blogosphere: Policing Gender and Sexuality and the Consequences for Queer Emancipation

Grant Walsh-Haines
Journal of Middle East Women's Studies
Vol. 8, No. 3, Queering Middle Eastern Cyberscapes (Fall 2012), pp. 41-62
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2979/jmiddeastwomstud.8.3.41
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Page Count: 22
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The Egyptian Blogosphere: Policing Gender and Sexuality and the Consequences for Queer Emancipation
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ABSTRACT This work attempts to answer the following question: What do Egyptian blogs tell us about how queer liberation can be achieved in Egypt? Through qualitative research and content and discourse analysis, I explore queer blogs and attempt to untangle their meaning. I begin with a brief review of recent Egyptian economic history, focusing on metaphorical colonization and the policing of gender and sexuality. Also important for contextualizing of this study is a review of identity formation and national identity, as well as of recent issues surrounding censorship. In order to fully understand Egypt's contemporary political culture, we must also understand the ways and words that individuals use to describe their lives on the Internet. Evaluating colonization and imported modes of policing, censorship, identity formation, geographical location, and a stirring national narrative are all aspects of Egyptian political culture, but are rarely, if ever, discussed comprehensively. I hope to demystify the underground politico-cultural currents that exist in the queer Egyptian blogosphere. Through the process of reconciling political discourse with modern technology, in this instance blogging, I argue that subversive optimism, coupled with online activism, has the potential to challenge existing structures of heteronormativity. According to my findings, change hinges on challenging difficulties and disconnects between gay men's and lesbian women's experiences.

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