Youth Protests in Baghdad: Acting in Intertwined Realities

Friday, July 18, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
Annika HENRIZI , Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy/Center for Conflict Studies, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Youth protests in Baghdad: Acting in intertwined realities

Analysis of new forms of urban protest cultures that arose during the so-called Arab Spring have mostly overlooked recent developments in Iraq. Yet - inspired through other countries in the region – Youth in Baghdad do engage and position themselves in urban spaces as well as in digital social networks and challenge sectarianism, political developments and frictions within Iraqi society. The paper argues that these symbolic and physical spaces are not to be regarded as dichotomous but rather as two aspects of relational space. The evolving digital platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs) have created new spaces and ways of acting and networking that would have hardly been possible otherwise due to the on-going violence and worsening security situation. Drawing on interviews and chats with involved actors the paper explores which new possibilities arise from technological opportunities of networking and organizing and how the self-representation and performances of actors is digital and urban spaces are linked from a theoretical view as well as from the actors’ own perspective. Furthermore it aims to discuss how these processes of positioning shape public spaces and can be seen as new instruments of power.