Patriotism and Islam on social media: how Pakistani publics revisit their allegiance to the state

Cheema, Munira (2020) Patriotism and Islam on social media: how Pakistani publics revisit their allegiance to the state. Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research, 13 (2). pp. 155-177. ISSN 1751-9411

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (326kB)


This study focuses on a series of events related to the sudden disappearance of bloggers in Pakistan on 7 January 2017. Following the incident, the broadcast media reported that the bloggers were sharing blasphemous content and were involved in anti-state activities. This revelation triggered online conversations that questioned their sympathizers’ patriotism and loyalty to Islam. The study locates how this led to the emergence of several hashtag-led publics on Twitter. While focusing two hashtags that polarized the publics on the issue, the study utilizes discourse analysis to evaluate the discourses generated by the conservative and the liberal publics on patriotism and national identity. This study finds that while conflating national identity with Islam, the conservative discourse constitutes angry, threat-like closed statements that allowed no room for disagreement. Liberal publics, on the other hand, use strategic speaking to create anti-state discourse on patriotism. Despite the heated exchange between the two publics, I argue that on this occasion (event-led), Twitter offered the opportunity for initiating counter-narratives that refuse to translate patriotism in the idiom of religion. I see this as an occasional, episodic, yet unprecedented form of public sphering in Pakistani context that brings both liberals and conservatives in direct contact with each other.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2021 09:49
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2021 01:00

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update