Are There Ways That Digital Technologies Break Down Walls of Communication During Conflict? Lessons from Leaders of a Women’s Movement in Egypt
Effective communication is fundamental in conflict resolution insofar as conflicts often begin after communication among belligerent parties has ended. From Fisher and Ury’s Getting to Yes (1981) to Lederach’s The Moral Imagination (2005), decades-long scholarship in conflict resolution has unearthed various dynamics of negotiation strategies and conflict communication. But the focus by conflict resolution scholars on communication’s behavioral aspects dwarfs inquiry into its structural aspects (debunking myths and facilitating attitudinal change). Owing to the proliferation of mobile-based digital technologies and their uses in social change processes, a new scholarly discourse is slowly emerging which holds that digital technology can highlight the structural aspects of conflict. How does this optimism regarding new communication tools resonate in conflict resolution literature, and what are the transformative impacts, if any, of mobile-based interactive digital technology in shaping structural issues in conflict? Drawing on a case study of HarassMap—a social movement NGO in Egypt focused on changing attitudes toward and preventing gender-based violence—we offer an analytical framework to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the evolving potentials of these digital tools in conflict resolution.
KeywordsSocial media Digital technology Gender-based violence Sexual harassment Conflict communication
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