What is it about?

Moral panics in the MENA are being used to help states export their national visions while also performing sovereignty that is under threat through digital media’s ability to infiltrate national borders. By focusing on one TV show which aired in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, this paper shows how these national performances can still fail to transmit state-sanctioned suspicion and paranoia about controversies around gender and sexuality. It does so by analyzing the program’s renarratization of real-life security crackdowns on state-branded ‘terrorists.’

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Why is it important?

By offering the theory of “recoding,” this paper shows how digitality has prompted media makers to restage and alter the way events are felt and understood. Paying attention to the emotions that are channeled by transnational networks in the service of this recoding helps to highlight state anxieties about national representation in a global marketplace.


Writing this article was a way of working through the attempts of states to dominate discourse about cultural imaginaries. Theorizing the failure of recoding gives me hope in the possibility of alternative world-making performances.

Heather Jaber
Northwestern University in Qatar

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Missionizing Affects, Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, May 2023, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/18739865-01602005.
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