The Internet and Social Media in Jordan’s Information Age—An ACOR Video Lecture

The ACOR Video Lecture Series provides accessible discussions of new research into the past and present of Jordan and the broader Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean worlds. This video was adapted from the September 2017 public lecture delivered at ACOR by Dr. Geoffrey Hughes, ACOR-NEH Fellow and Fellow at the London School of Economics, whose research interests are focused on how Jordanians conceptualize and manage conflicts over inequality, social difference, and social hierarchy.

About the Lecture

Jordan’s media landscape has changed dramatically in the past twenty years as first satellite television and then the Internet and social media have vastly increased the reach and diversity of available information within the Kingdom. Drawing on interviews with journalists, legal experts, activists, and community leaders, Hughes discusses how these technologies bring with them new forms of order and discipline, forms that are far more diffuse and wide-ranging than those that came before. Drawing on a range of case studies involving Jordanians from diverse walks of life, he presents some of the ambivalent ways in which these technologies constrain and empower various social actors. He suggests that the future of these technologies in Jordan and throughout the region will depend as much on the development of informal social norms as they will on formal legislation.

About the Lecturer

Dr. Geoffrey Hughes was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at ACOR and a fellow in the Anthropology Department at the London School of Economics. His research explored how Jordanians use new technologies for large-scale population management to remake themselves and their communities. He has previously published in journals like American EthnologistAnthropological Quarterly, and Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute on topics ranging from the information infrastructure of Jordan’s Sharia Courts to World Bank squatter settlement standardization programs and Islamic training courses for newlyweds. Read more about Geoffrey Hughes and read his short article “The Evolution of Identity and Social Conflict in Networked Jordan” on the ACOR Blog.


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this video lecture do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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