of a modern past
The research investigates the wide circulation of vintage images depicting the social life in Egypt between 1900 and 1970s over Facebook and explores how the Egyptian middle-class mobilize the past online to negotiate their identities in the present. More specifically the study focuses on the online communities involved in reproducing particular narratives of the past, “al-zamman al-gamīl” or “the good old days” in Egypt, an elusive social construct that deserves investigation given the current oppressive political situation and the constant state violence exercised since 2013.
The research is situated in Science, Technology and Society studies, to explore how social imaginaries of the past are co-produced through the technologies, and how the self is produced in relation to the network in the age of social media. Jasano ’s concept of the “sociotechnical imaginary” helps to understand how particular imaginaries of the past are co-produced online, and how imagination as a social practice is governed and constructed by political and technological affordances.
Jasano describes the sociotechnical imaginaries to be “collectively held, institutionally stabilized, and publicly performed visions of desir- able futures, animated by shared understandings of forms of social life and social order attainable through, and supportive of advances in science and technology” (Jasano 2015, 15). As this author shows how big leaders employed science and technology to spread and implement their visions of desired social order for the future, in this research is explored how the disposed who lack the means to change the future, uses technologies to reproduce a desired social order from the past. Thus, this research aims to theorize for sociotechnical imaginaries of the dispossessed and how the past and its ‘images’ become a resource for dispossessed to negotiate their identities.
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