Source of Publication
Social Media + Society
Social media intersects across physical spaces, digital infrastructures, and social subjectivities in terms of what is being called the “postdigital,” in an increasingly merging offline/online world. But what precisely does it mean to be “postdigital” if you are an Arab woman or social actor in the Global South? How does access to social networking sites, while increasing visibilities, also provide potential for increased agency? This study is concerned with the extent to which Arab women’s self-presentation practices on Instagram could be considered as empowering, or otherwise, within the postdigital condition. First, the study takes Instagram as a case to develop a theoretical framework for considering social media as a tertiary artifact, involving material, routine-symbolic, and conceptual affordances. Second, it applies the artifact framework to explore a corpus of self-presentations by five Arab women influencers. Feminist postdigital theorizing offers unique contributions to problematizing normative, ethnocentric, and neoliberal conceptions of Arab women’s empowerment. The application of the novel framework leads to an interpretative discussion of Arab women’s influencing practices across merging offline/online and transnational boundaries. Overall, the critical perspective begins to reimagine Arab women’s empowerment, not simply as individualized or material processes, but as agencies that are interwoven within the commercialized and conceptual dynamics of visual social media.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
affordances, agency, Arab women, artifact, empowerment, Instagram, postdigital, self-presentations, social media
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Hurley, Zoe, "#reimagining Arab Women’s Social Media Empowerment and the Postdigital Condition" (2021). All Works. 4157.
Indexed in Scopus
Open Access Type
Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series