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Kenya is the most digitally advanced country in sub-Saharan Africa, where Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other online platforms are part of everyday life. And, as in Western nations, the digital age has had dramatic effects on society and politics. Yet, while we hear about the #MeToo movement and the Russian bot scandal, there is little appreciation for the feminist movement #MyDressMyChoice and the subversion of state-run political propaganda by social media.
Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics aims to change this by presenting a unique contribution to the debate on digital democracy. For traditionally marginalized groups, particularly women and the disabled, digital spaces have provided vital platforms that allow Kenyans to build new communities that transcend old ethnic and gender divisions. Covering attempts by political elites to prevent social movements from translating online visibility into meaningful offline gains, Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics explores the drastic efforts to contain online activism and new methods of feminist mobilization, as well as how “fake news,” Cambridge Analytica, and allegations of hacking contributed to tensions around the 2017 elections. Reframing digital democracy for the first time from the African perspective, Nanjala Nyabola’s groundbreaking work opens up new ways of understanding our current global online era.
About the Author
Nanjala Nyabola is a Kenyan writer, humanitarian advocate, and political analyst currently based in Nairobi. She is a frequent columnist at Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Al Jazeera, the Guardian, and other publications.
“Offer(s) insights on how digital developments are shaping politics in contemporary Kenya. . . . 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. . . . Nyabola’s book is a necessary addition to the growing but still small body of work on social media in Africa and what it means for politics.”
— Washington Post
“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
“Nyabola’s important new book offers a nuanced account of how the global processes transforming our politics and our societies are being experienced in Kenya.”
— Sean Jacobs, founder and editor of Africa is a Country
“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 center, 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