Not Arabi or Ajnabi: Arab Youth and Reorienting Humor

Sulafa Zidani


This article examines a type of online content created by Arab youth that mixes local and foreign popular culture and politics. This content is examined in relation to the position of Arab youth within transnational power dynamics looking at how they build on longstanding meanings to define their own unique culture. These creations mixing Arabic and foreign (arabi–ajnabi) languages, music, images, and videos, result in content that is humorous specifically to those who are literate in both of the cultures being juxtaposed. Drawing on academic literature on humor, remix, and mash-up culture, this article looks into how this new content, labeled here as reorienting humor, becomes a way for doubly marginalized youth to be cultural agents for themselves and disrupt the direction of cultural flows in a way that creates a disturbance in the power relations and calls into question binaries such as local–global dominant–marginalized, and center–periphery.


mash-up, remix, power, humor, transnational, Arab, Middle East

Full Text: