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Who owns virtual Pakistan? Introducing the defenders and critics of Islam in Pakistani Cyberspace

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Gastvortrag von Bilal Haider Rana, Universität Erfurt Datum: Mittwoch, 13. November 2019 Beginn: 18:00 Uhr Ort: Hörsaal XI, Regina-Pacis-Weg 5, 53113 Bonn

A vast literature is available, on the portrayal of Islam in media and about the usage of the Internet by Muslim extremists. Social media, nonetheless, and its effects on an internal conflict within Muslim communities is still not a priority research area. This lecture will introduce a research project that investigates the dispute between dominating discourses and counter publics in social media by Pakistani actors. The critical theoretical framework, its implication on methodology and the results will be presented to provide an overview to the attendees.

Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim country. It has anti-blasphemy legislation and a dynamic social media sphere. These circumstances make Pakistan an exciting case study of the transformation of the public sphere, from the social to the cyber world. By implying a netnographical investigation, and critical thematic analysis, this project has revealed the ideological, structural and experiential realms of pro and anti-Islam online communities of Pakistan.

Bilal Haider Rana is a PhD scholar and a visiting lecturer at the University of Erfurt, Germany. His research project "Network of the pure: A netnography of Islam critical and Islam defending online communities of Pakistan" is funded by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. He was a research exchange scholar, at the University of Oslo and Beijing Foreign Languages University. He has worked as a lecturer of Media Studies in Superior University, Lahore, Pakistan. His research interests include the application of critical social media theory on religion, race and gender in the online public sphere. He is a freelance journalist and regularly publishes on social and political issues.