Power, Arab media Moguldum & gender rights as entertainment in the Middle East

El Mkaouar, L. 2016. Power, Arab media Moguldum & gender rights as entertainment in the Middle East. PhD thesis University of Westminster Journalism and Mass Communication

TitlePower, Arab media Moguldum & gender rights as entertainment in the Middle East
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsEl Mkaouar, L.

Discourse is a giant field of research and gender related rights are still a disputed area of thinking. Thus, when Arab transnational satellite televisions produce dialogues, images, stories and narratives about the disputed “universal” gender rights in the Middle East, the big questions remain how and why. According to De Beauvoir (1949), one becomes woman and to Butler (1990) one is not born a gender at all but is “done” and “undone” to become one via discourse. Islamic feminism speaks of a cultural/religious specificity in defending women rights and even gender diversity based on new Quranic interpretations. The gender, “Al-Naw’u”, remains synonym to sex “Al Jins” as gender and queer theories never developed in Arabic in tandem with the European institutions or the theories of the19th century– especially those ideas emerging from studies of the mental asylum. This research tries to understand gender related “rights” and “wrongs” as manifest in the discursive institutions owned by media mogul Prince Al Waleed Ben Talal Al Saud. The trouble of such a study is lexical, ideological and institutional at the same time. Since we lack a critique of the discourses and narratives addressed in the pan-Arab satellite channels, in general it is difficult to understand their significance and influence in everyday life practices. What language is used to speak of gender rights or wrongs? Which ideology is favoured in this practice of legitimisation and/or policing? Using case studies, CDA of social and religious talk shows, narrative analysis of Arabic cinemas, this research adapted triangulation to show the complexity of conversing and narrating gender related content at the micro and macro levels within an institution of power. Using semi-structured interviews from fieldwork in Egypt (2009) and Lebanon (2011), archive research and online ethnography, the research exposes the power structure under which gender discourses evolve. It emerges that gender content is abundant on the Pan Arab satellite space, “manufactured” on talk shows and plotted tactfully in the cinematic “creative-act”. The result is a complex discourse of gender content that scratches the surface calling for interpretation. So how and why do gender rights and wrongs find place on Prince Al Waleed’s Media Empire?

Keywordsmedmoguls, talk shows, gender discourses, cinema images and imagination, the creative-act, women rights, LGBTQ, power, tactics and strategies

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