Cover of Digital Militarism by Adi Kuntsman and Rebecca L. Stein
Digital Militarism
Israel's Occupation in the Social Media Age
Adi Kuntsman and Rebecca L. Stein

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April 2015
192 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804785679
Paper ISBN: 9780804794909

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Israel's occupation has been transformed in the social media age. Over the last decade, military rule in the Palestinian territories grew more bloody and entrenched. In the same period, Israelis became some of the world's most active social media users. In Israel today, violent politics are interwoven with global networking practices, protocols, and aesthetics. Israeli soldiers carry smartphones into the field of military operations, sharing mobile uploads in real-time. Official Israeli military spokesmen announce wars on Twitter. And civilians encounter state violence first on their newsfeeds and mobile screens.

Across the globe, the ordinary tools of social networking have become indispensable instruments of warfare and violent conflict. This book traces the rise of Israeli digital militarism in this global context—both the reach of social media into Israeli military theaters and the occupation's impact on everyday Israeli social media culture. Today, social media functions as a crucial theater in which the Israeli military occupation is supported and sustained.

About the authors

Adi Kuntsman is Lecturer in Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, and author of Figurations of Violence and Belonging: Queerness, Migranthood and Nationalism in Cyberspace and Beyond (2009).

Rebecca L. Stein is the Nicholas J. & Theresa M. Leonardy Associate Professor of Anthropology at Duke University, and author of Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism (2008).

"Digital Militarism [...] unravels and explores ways of reading the complex, paradoxical, and often uncomfortable interplay between social media and militarist politics . . . Kuntsman's and Stein's work moves beyond the geopolitical and temporal specificity of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories. Their work offers new ways of engaging and thinking about the everyday digitisation of militarism, and the militarisation of the digital everyday more generally . . . Digital Militarism is anything but ordinary."

—Esperanza Miyake, darkmatter Journal

"Amidst the hype of Facebook revolutions and the ostensible democratizing power of social media, Adi Kuntsman and Rebecca Stein illuminate the counterpoint: online militarization and the extension of state politics into the virtual realm. They expose the machinery of the Israeli state power at work within social media, and show the possibilities for countering the force of this machinery. Powerfully argued, beautifully researched, and thought-provoking, Digital Militarism is vitally important."

—Laleh Khalili, SOAS, University of London, author of Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies

"Digital Militarism is a pioneering book, showing how information and communication technologies have turned into wartime arsenals, and the Internet and social networks into digital battlefields. Just when one thinks that all has been said about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, a totally original perspective emerges. Digital Militarism is a must read."

—Neve Gordon, Ben-Gurion University, author of Israel's Occupation

"Digital Militarism is a riveting guide to contemporary media strategies, improvisations, and accidents in the theatre of Israeli militarism. The book is as ethical as it is political, searchingly mindful of how documentary practice produces mixed consequences in the everyday and at the limit of life."

—Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago

"With this genuinely innovative study, Kunstman and Stein open an entirely new direction of research on the Israel/Palestine issue, and pave the way for future debate on the growing digitalisation of military discourses (and militarisation of digital spaces) in the broader context of contemporary armed conflicts, making this book useful not only for scholars specialising in the area, but for all social scientists investigating the cultures and practices of war and soldiering. Finally, warning how information technologies can slowly and subtly transform into new weapons of war and contribute to a process of domestication of violence in a context of prolonged military occupation, the book highlights the need – political and ethical, as well as scientific – for further and deeper investigation into the topic."

—Giorgio Gristina, Social Anthropology

"Digital Militarism is a well-researched and well-executed study, packed full of examples and visual imagery that help progress our understanding of militarism in the digital age. It skillfully demonstrates how the pervasive nature of social media holds enormous contemporary and strategic importance for those involved in war and violence. And not least, it highlights the pressures placed on the regulatory measures currently in place to manage social media usage by military actors."

—Rikke Bjerg Jensen, Media, Culture & Society