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Writing democracy: An end of author ‘turn’?: From ‘fake news’ to ‘fake democratization'

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This article problematizes questions of ontology and epistemology in the context of the study of norm-making primarily within academia (with special reference to democratization) and secondarily within media. It showcases this via description of an ongoing QNRF-funded project on democratic learning in seven Muslim countries. Through these examples, it pitches the discussion to elaborate the utility of concepts and ideas drawn from post-structuralism, namely, those having to do with discourse, identity and norms being unstable. It refers to Barthes’s notion of ‘the death of the author’ and Derrida’s ideas about the indeterminacy of linguistic forms, and the chain of signs and signifiers used to record representations and interpretations of shifting realities. This offers a welcome escape from rationalist methods, suggesting that in social constructivism and discourse analysis democratization studies would benefit from a firmer grip on understandings of norm-making via the study of speech acts and discourse. This is presented as a ‘middle ground’ that balances structure and agency with respect to the ‘chain’ of journeys in the travel of democracy.
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Keywords: Muslim countries; academia; democratic learning; fake democratization; fake news; media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Qatar University

Publication date: November 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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