The article “Cultural Adoption through Online Practices across Social Media Platforms: The Case of Saudi Women” reports ongoing qualitative research into Saudi women’s online practices across several social media platforms (SMP).
It is based on eight semi-structured interviews conducted between March and September 2015 with four Saudi women from different cities in Saudi Arabia. This work’s findings address the knowledge gap between the accelerating consumption of SMP and the limited existing scholarly literature to understand empirically the relationship between Saudi women’s online practices and the changes in Saudi culture in terms of values, norms and traditions, such as veiling and cross-gender communication.
Since the launch of the Internet in Saudi Arabia in 1998 (Al-Tawil 2001), the country has gone through enormous transitions (Kuppuswamy and Rekha 2015). Taking into account that Saudi society is extremely conservative, several studies of Saudi women’s online practices have focused on how virtual communities have eroded several Saudi cultural norms, for example, how the absence of formal gender segregation on social media has enabled Saudi women to build online relationships with men (Al-Saggaf 2004) and how online forums and social media platforms (SMP) have become spaces for self-expression, resistance, and demands for Saudi women’s rights (e.g., in relation to driving) (Tønnessen 2016). Saudi women’s advocacy online accompanied and were a part of offline changes, such as legal issues and domestic abuse (Eum 2013) 1. For example, a royal decree on September 26, 2017 lifted the ban on Saudi women driving (Chulov 2017), and this is seen by SMP users as a victory for Saudi women’s online campaign throughout 2011 and 2012 via the hashtag #women2drive (Hubbard 2017). Since then, the #Endguardianship Twitter campaign has exceeded 800 days, 2 at which point a royal decree recommended the repeal of guardianship law (Oliphant 2017). At the time of writing, the Saudi Consultative Assembly was debating the first proposal to end guardianship law on Saudi women (Alshomrani, 2018).
Title: Cultural Adoption through Online Practices across Social Media Platforms: The Case of Saudi Women
Author: Ghayda Aljuwaiser
Published in: CyberOrient, Vol. 12, Iss. 1, 2018
Length: 12 pages