Social media discourses of feminist protest from the Arab Levant: digital mirroring and transregional dialogue
This paper proposes the concept of digital mirroring to explore and contextualise post-Arab Spring digital feminism in the Levant within a critical discourse framework. Digital mirroring illustrates the way in which contemporary Arab feminist groups articulate their digital presence orienting toward the vertical dimension of their sociopolitical contexts and toward the horizontal dimension characterised by the digital practices of other feminist movements in the region. We observed this phenomenon through the analysis of a multimodal corpus of Facebook and Instagram posts published by thirty-two institutionalised and non-institutionalised feminist groups in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria between 2011 and 2019. The analysis of the linguistic and the visual strategies of MENA feminist groups is grounded in contemporary sociolinguistic studies on Arabic diglossia and multimodality. Findings reveal the complex interplay of digital self-representation, local resistance, and transregional networking of Levantine women. We argue that a simultaneous analysis of the vertical and the horizontal contextual dimensions of digital mirroring is necessary to comprehend social media discursive strategies and their transregional breadth as a central component of contemporary Arab feminism and emancipatory discourses at large.