Our Website Was Revolutionary” Virtual Spaces of Representation and Resistance
AbstractThe growth of Internet usage by spatially and/or ideologically marginalized
groups has become a proven avenue for representation, cross-border connections, and political mobilization. Groups on the social and/or political margins use cyberspace to counter hegemonic or stereotypical understanding of their particular cause through websites and electronic communication. Marginalized groups often seek media attention to raise their political voice beyond the boundaries of their states/nations. However, media attention can both compliment and at times complicate political representations. This paper examines the use of Internet and email technology by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), and the intersecting and complicated forms of representation associated with RAWA’s website, the international support RAWA draws, and the media attention it receives. Internet and email technologies have had a tremendous impact on RAWA’s members and supporters, and on their ability to connect to international supporters both virtually and in physical spaces. RAWA’s website provides a virtual and safe public space for presenting the association’s political views and
soliciting financial support. The association also uses the Internet to represent and define geographic space. In addition, the erratic international media coverage and attention paid to RAWA reinforces the tenuous connection to and temporal shifts of international sympathy and monetary support. I examine three aspects related to RAWA’s representation and resistance tactics through Internet technology:
relieving embodied experiences of isolation; generating funds from international donors and within the global market place; and media (and mediated) appropriations and challenges.
Authors agree to publish their articles in ACME under the Creative Commons "Attribution/Non-Commercial/No Derivative Works" Canada licence. To read and review agreement, click here.