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ORIENT l / 2010

Focus: The Muslim World & the Internet







Dr. Eugenia Siapera
Networked Palestine. Exploring Power in Online Palestinian Networks

This article is concerned with the question of power in Web 2.0 networks. It focuses on the issue of Palestine, and seeks to show the new power configurations in these kinds of network. Implied in the rhetoric of Web 2.0 is that power and hierarchy are somehow diffused, decentralized, and to an extent also disabled. Within this often celebratory language, there is a tendency to dismiss power structures and hierarchies as no longer relevant in the days of network organisation. This paper poses therefore the question of power in an explicit way, seeking to trace its new configurations within Web 2.0 applications. In empirical terms, the question of power will be discussed in a case study looking at ‘Palestine’ in the context of Web 2.0. The choice of Palestine is significant: in a global geopolitical environment which has turned Palestine into an underdog, fighting an uneven fight, considerably disadvantaged and impoverished, the blogosphere offers an apparently more egalitarian space within which it can voice its concerns. But are the networks developed really egalitarian? Where is power located within these networks, and what are its accomplishments for Palestine? This paper will address these questions through studying a Palestinian issue network and a blogging network. In both cases, three main questions will be asked: Who (or what) has power over the network? What is the power of the network? What are the power dynamics within the network? The findings suggest that offline power structures and hierarchies both enable and limit Palestinian networks. Secondly, that the actual efficacy of the networks under study is limited, and finally, that while the blogging network appears to be egalitarian this is probably because it is a network of similar blogs operated by people of very similar educational and cultural background.

Networks, Palestine, Blogosphere, Internet

Weiterlesen: ORIENT l / 2010

Orient IV/2009

Focus: Shia







PD Dr. Rainer Brunner
"Then I was Guided".

Some Remarks on Inner Islamic Conversions in the 20th and 21st Centuries


While inner Islamic pluralism with regard to the Sunnite schools of law had been regarded as legitimate since classical times, the division between Sunnism and Shiism has proved to be a far more difficult obstacle to Islamic unity. Even in the course of the ecumenical debate in the 20th century, when mutual conversion was encouraged, the issue was exploited by polemicists who considered it to be unlawful proselytisation. The Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the accompanying politicisation of Shiism in subsequent decades further aggravated this conflict: on the one hand, a converts' literature – exclusively from Sunnism to Shiism – developed, on the other hand, deliberate attempts at winning over Sunnites to Shiism came became a serious problem with political implications on an international level.


Shiism, Sunnism, Iran, proselytisation, conversion


Weiterlesen: Orient IV/2009

ORIENT II / 2009

Focus: United States and the Near and Middle East











Prof. Barry Rubin

U.S. Middle East Policy: Too Many Challenges and Yet a Single Theme


In his contribution, Prof. Rubin discusses the many challenges the Obama Administration has to face when it comes to the strategy of the U.S. in the Middle East. Prof. Rubin identifies two main problems that need to be solved if the U.S. wants to make progress in its foreign policy. On the one hand, the new administration needs to realize the enormous amount of problems it is facing in the region and find an adequate solution for each. Among others, he suggests putting a high priority on Pakistan and Afghanistan and urges U.S. politicians to try a friendly diplomacy to persuade Iran to change its course. On the other hand, the author clarifies that in case the U.S. wants to achieve these goals, the neo-conservative U.S. politicians would need to be disempowered. In short, the article underlines the fact that the U.S. still has a long way to go if it wants to bring peace to the region.


Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, Obama, Strategy, Iran, Pakistan, Neo-Conservatives


Weiterlesen: ORIENT II / 2009


Focus: Turkey








Dr. Boğaç Erozan
and the West: A History of Ambivalence


In his contribution, Dr. Boğaç Erozan argues that the ambivalence in Turkish attitudes toward the west, especially toward Europe and the European Union, is in part a historical legacy. Erozan explains how the Ottomans tried to conquer the West because they saw themselves as superior to the European neighbors. This attitude changed during the 19th century due to the political and economic circumstances. The author sheds light on the difficult relations of the past, in particular during the era of the Ottoman Empire, and the deep-rooted influence of the European imperialism. Afterwards, European states became role models for public life, politics and culture in the Ottoman Empire especially in the period of the Tanzimat reforms. Furthermore, Erozan analyses the relationship of the Turks to Europe in the 20th century and concludes that the Turks do not wish to give up on the West entirely, while still resist becoming fully Western.


Turkey, European Union, Europe, Relationship


Weiterlesen: ORIENT III / 2009

ORIENT I / 2009

Focus: Pakistan - Afghanistan









Dr. Gunter Mulack

Uneasy Neighbours- The relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan


The article provides a basic analysis of the problematic relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan in its historical and cultural dimension. The conflicts stem from the Durand Line the border between the two countries, which was introduced by the British in the 19th century and divides the Pashtu tribe. Afghanistan does not recognize that border. The author stresses the international and particularly the German efforts to ease the conflict and concludes that reconciliation between the countries is possible, as shown in European history between former arch-enemies like France and Germany. However, a solution cannot be imposed by foreign outsiders, but has to be developed by both governments and populations.


Pakistan, Afghanistan, Durand Line, relationship


Weiterlesen: ORIENT I / 2009

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Festveranstaltung zur Ernennung von Gerhard Schröder zum Ehrenvorsitzenden des NUMOV

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Über die Stiftung

Die Deutsche Orient-Stiftung (DOS) ist die älteste privatwissenschaftliche Forschungseinrichtung zum Nahen und Mittleren Osten in Europa.


Gegründet 1934 NUMOV / Nah- und Mittelost-Verein e.V.