Sarah Kendzior on political culture in the Digital Age

About Sarah Kendzior: Dr. Kendzior is an anthropologist and communications scholar who studies digital media and politics. Her research interests include the ways in which the internet affects political mobilization, privacy, trust and self-expression with a focus on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. Topic of the class: Political Culture in the Digital Age

What role does political culture play in shaping how people interact online? Since the Arab Spring, the internet has been hailed as a medium which allows citizens of authoritarian states to mobilize against their governments. Often overlooked is how the internet impacts relationships between the dissidents themselves. Dissidents struggle with problems of audience, authorship and anonymity exacerbated by both the online environment and by the political norms of an authoritarian state. In this class, we will read about the dissidents of Uzbekistan, one of the most repressive states in the world, and discuss how political culture shapes online interaction. Structure of the presentation:

  • Overview of the presentation
  • Uzbekistan political culture
  • Dramatic change in 2005
  • Bohodir
  • Ethnography
  • Internet propaganda
  • Uzbek Exiles
  • Uzbek children abroad



Sarah Kendzior. “Digital distrust: Uzbek cynicism and solidarity in the Internet Age”.American Ethnologist 38 (3): 559-575

Supplemental Readings

 Sarah Kendzior

The Strange Saga of a Made-Up Activist and Her Life—and Death—as a Hoax

Sarah Kendzior

Digital Freedom of Expression in Uzbekistan: An example of social control and censorship in the 21st Century