Khalil explores digital dynamics shaping Middle Eastern societies in latest book

March 04, 2024

The Digital Double Bind: Change and Stasis in the Middle East, a new book co-authored by Northwestern Qatar Professor Joe F. Khalil examining the complex relationship between digital transformations and socio-cultural, economic, and political dynamics in the Middle East, has been released.

Published by Oxford University Press, the book reconsiders the question of technology and change, moving beyond binary formulations of the network society to examine how the same forces that brought promises of change through digital transformation have also engendered tensions and contradictions. Drawing on local research and case studies, it goes on to propose a conceptual framework for the analysis of media and technology development in the Middle East and the wider Global South.

The Digital Double Bind offers a nuanced understanding of the region’s digital trajectory, emphasizing both its promises and peril,” said Khalil, associate professor in residence in the Communication Program at Northwestern Qatar. “We hope to challenge conventional narratives surrounding digital transformation in the Middle East and contribute to ongoing discussions about technology, society, and change in the region and beyond.”

Similarly, the book, which is co-authored with Mohamed Zayani, a professor of critical theory at Georgetown University in Qatar, analyzes the manifestations and local experiences of the digital to offer a path-breaking analysis of change and stasis in the Middle East, offering a roadmap for a critical engagement with digitality in the Global South.

“Professor Khalil and Zayani’s book sheds light on critical issues shaping the digital landscape in the Middle East,” said Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar. “The release of this book not only showcases the scholarly prowess of our faculty but also underscores our commitment to advancing interdisciplinary research collaborations that transcend borders, particularly from and within the Global South.”

The Digital Double Bind: Change and Stasis in the Middle East is the second book by Professor Joe F. Khalil published this academic year and among many books and scholarly works by faculty and researchers at Northwestern Qatar. For more information about the book, click here to access its website.