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Digital media increasingly play an influential role as epicenters for present and future socio-political configurations in Africa, also (re)defining conflict dynamics and opening spaces for Youth.Who are the major actors, what are their motives and ambitions?
The increasing use of digital media among Africans for a variety of reasons has become an important interest in recent research. While social media usage is supposedly a catalyst for democratization, it is also used to wage wars. It is therefore important that we further our understanding of the ‘workings’ of social media. How is it shaped by the dominant presence of young African actors, including influencers, activists, and bloggers, who use media platforms to spread information and communicate political agendas? It goes without saying that these content makers and information brokers are changing Africa’s socio-political or even religious landscape. Through online surfing, the youth move cross-medially, organize along global and local networks, negotiate social status and political participation, as well as experience displacement and a lack of choice due to media illiteracy and the digital mediation of conflict. This growing digital media footprint of the youth raises questions such as who will be the political leaders of tomorrow in a continent that is home to the world’s largest population of young people? What role will they play in shaping current and future conflicts or in the search for more democratic political futures?
This panel invites empirically grounded contributions to probe the role of Africa’s Social Media forerunners in the development and mediation of conflict and democratization. We welcome especially empirical accounts that construe the interdependencies between politics, conflict, and media in local contexts. We especially welcome contributions that discuss the role of emerging political actors, such as citizen journalists, digital dissidents, influencers, bloggers, or activists in the creation, co-creation or disruption of information flows in Africa, that inform power dynamics.
Accepted papers:Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -
Walter Nkwi (University of Leiden)
Modibo Galy Cisse (Leiden University)