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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 25: Music Video and Relations Between Nations in the Digital Sphere (Marwan M. Kraidy)


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Music Video and Relations Between Nations in the Digital Sphere

Marwan M. Kraidy

One of the most remarkable phenomena in the Arab media “revolution” of the last 25 years is the music video “clip.” Since the mid-1990s, Arab music videos have circulated trans-nationally on broadcast, online and increasingly, mobile platforms. Though the industry saw its heyday right before the financial recession of 2008, from which it has not fully recovered, music videos remain a lucrative staple for a 700-channel strong pan-Arab commercial television industry, including many music channels (Kraidy & Khalil, 2009). Music videos, alongside reality television, have been at the vanguard of integrating Arab television in the digital media landscape (Kraidy, 2010). Music videos have caused controversy (Al-Mahadin, 2008; Armbrust, 2005; Frishkopf, 2009; Kraidy, 2012). As captivating audiovisual blurbs, they are interesting not only because of their provocative aesthetics, but because they spotlight controversial issues.

This chapter explores the cross-cultural politics and poetics of Arab music videos in the digital age by way of a detailed analysis of Wa’d ‘Arqoub (WA), a music video by Iraqi singer Shadha Hassoun, which features a romantic relationship against the backdrop of Iraq under US occupation, and elicited a heated polemic that played out mostly in cyberspace. After reviewing the music video literature, the chapter focuses on notions of visibility, circulation, and contention as they emerge around this music video, opening two avenues of analysis: as a cultural production (text)...

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