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Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics


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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction Part I: Analogue Politics 1. 2007: The Violent Origins of Kenya's Digital Decade 2. Avatars in the Square: Theorising the Kenyan Public Sphere 3. Collision Course: Where Analogue Meets Digital 4. Rattling the Snake without Getting Bitten: New Media usurping Traditional Media in Kenya Part II: Digital Politics 5. An African Country in the Digital Age: The Making and Uses of #KOT 6. Redefining Community: The Politics of Public Performances of Empathy 7. Women at Work: Kenyan Feminist Organising on Social Media 8. Politics, Predators and Profit: Ethnicity, Hate Speech and the Threat of Digital Colonialism Part III: History Not Learned From 9. 2017: The Most Expensive Election in the World 10. Conclusion

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A fascinating account of how the digital age has impacted Kenyan politics, and the consequences for understanding the role of social media in democracies across Africa, and beyond.

About the Author

Nanjala Nyabola is a Kenyan writer, humanitarian advocate and political analyst currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her writing and research focuses on refugee issues and humanitarian interventions, as well as technology and media in Africa. She is a frequent columnist at Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, IRIN, New African magazine, Al Jazeera, the Guardian, the BBC's Focus on Africa, the Saturday Nation and other publications.


Challenges existing scholarship on 'tech in Africa' by exploring how state agency and the politics of offline spaces have consequences for what happens online. This beautifully written book is a must-read for all researchers and journalists writing about Kenya today. * LSE Review of Books *
The book is fascinating. As an added bonus, Digital Democracy is also a highly readable introduction to Kenyan society and politics. * Oxfam Blog *
Digital Democracy delivers a powerful read on politics and social media in Africa. Nyabola's execution and writing are clear and sharp. This well-researched work marshals illustrative stories of social media in Kenya, making it an easy, quick read. * Washington Post *
Incisive, deft, and innovative, this book describes viral trends and critically expands the scholarship on Kenyan politics while bringing the social histories of marginalized Kenyans into sharper focus. * Brenda N. Sanya, Colgate University *
In this highly accessible and timely account, Nyabola moves Kenya and Kenyans from the margins of analysis to the very centre, revealing how local realities help to bring out both the worst and best of the new digital age. * Gabrielle Lynch, University of Warwick *
Anchored in an eloquent grasp of Kenyan history, Nyabola maps the contours of advances, innovations and regressions across Kenya's digital sphere. This is essential reading for understanding contemporary Kenya. * Grace A. Musila, University of the Witwatersrand *
A timely and hugely important work. It chronicles how digital disruption is also an African emancipation, allowing a generation to leapfrog from the so called Third World into the First and into an exciting beyond. * John Githongo, journalist and founder of the Inuka Kenya Trust *
A fascinating and insightful journey into Kenya's digital spaces. It is one of the few studies of social media that goes beyond the digital sphere to provide in-depth social, political, and historic context. * Maggie Dwyer, University of Edinburgh *

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