Expressions of Duress on Facebook by Chadian Urban Youth in the Diaspora and N’Djaména

in Conflict and Society
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  • 1 Leiden University m.e.de.bruijn@hum.leidenuniv.nl
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Abstract

Africa is at the lower end of internet use, but Facebook Connectivity is rapidly increasing, linking diaspora and local people in mainly urban regions in Africa. A survey conducted in N’Djaména revealed that 1 in 10 people uses Facebook, which is an important platform for these connected Chadians to express feelings, write thoughts, and create networks (i.e., to create a social life). In countries where daily conflict, oppression, insecurity, and mistrust pervade social life, posts and messages engage with these circumstances in a certain dialogue, which can be understood as an expression of duress. This article follows three Facebook users from both the diaspora and N’Djaména, and I position their Facebook expressions and actions in the context of their personal lives in contemporary Chadian political and connectivity history. Facebook appears to be an escape route from the reality of duress, and a form of practical action coupled with political agency.

Contributor Notes

MIRJAM DE BRUIJN is Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of Africa, at Leiden University. She is heading the research program ‘Connecting in Times of Duress’ (2012-2018) at the Institute for History in Leiden. This program looks at the interface between communication technologies, mobility, social and political change in Africa (funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research/ NWO, W01.70.600.001). Other topics she works on are radicalization and security in the Sahel. Mirjam developed the journal Bridging Humanities envisages the translation of results from historical-anthropological research, combined with journalism and art, into a public presentation and archive. Email: m.e.de.bruijn@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Conflict and Society

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