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Paper short abstract:
Using smart-phones, Mali's new 'videomen' are increasingly producing content and publicity for the post-coup political elites. The paper shows how nationalism, populism, and panafricanism is spread and performed through mass rallies and social media and with what political effects.
Paper long abstract:
Using smart phone technology, Mali's new 'videomen' are taking the center stage in producing content and publicity for the new pro-junta political actors. Since the military coup d'état in August 2020, the military transitional government derives its popular support through youth groups like Yéréwolo debout sur le Rempart (Yéréwolo). While previously excluded from national politics, these new actors are now positioning themselves and shaping post-coup conflict and politics in Mali. In these youth actors' protests against former political elites and new claims to authority, anti-French sentiments, support of Mali-Russia security cooperation intertwine with renewed claims to sovereignty to mobilise followers and disrupt existing authority structures. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Bamako amongst youth groups, journalists and video-men, online research of social media as well and participatory observations in meetings, this paper asks how key mobilization elements of nationalism, populism, and panafricanism is spread and performed through mass rallies and social media and with what political effects. The paper draws on assemblage theory (Deleuze) to analyse the heterogenous ways in which digital technologies and social media are shaping the transformation of politics without ignoring the wider sociocultural context within which specific technologies and digital information are conceived, refined, produced, diffused, and put to use (Bousquet, 2020). Following this approach, the paper explores two analytical tracks: the role of social media in shaping new claims to authority in a context of conflict and democratic uncertainty; and how nationalist and populist claims are tied to panafricanism and reconfiguring geopolitical orders in the region.
Media forerunners: reflecting on emerging socio-political youth leadership in times of conflict and digitalization
Session 2 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -