Political Apptivism: Constructing Israeli–Palestinian Political Experience Through App Use

Oren Golan, Noam Tirosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been exponential growth in the use of mobile political apps. Focusing on iNakba, a GPS-based application that addresses the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, this study asks, How do political activists negotiate their use of apps to promote their agendas? We based our study on interviews with activists, users, and appmasters, alongside participant observation and review of supportive documents. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s discussions about authentic-mediated experiences and the “aura” of objects, we highlighted three major themes: place versus online space (user’s distinct sense of place to complement their online-app space experience), interactivity (negotiation of the relationship between the app and its users), and reaching through the layers (users’ rediscovering the “authentic” landscape). Through Benjamin’s framework, we see how apps’ technological affordances are used to construct a distinct political experience and to support amplification of appmasters’ status as providers of authentic knowledge for social movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2333-2353
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Oren Golan: ongolan@gmail.com Noam Tirosh: noam.tirosh.ps@gmail.com Date submitted: 2018–01–12 1 The authors wish to thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments as well as Daniel Barnett for his reflective aid in editing this manuscript. In addition, deep gratitude is offered to students who have assisted in assembling data and advising at various stages of this study, including Alon Diamant-Cohen, for his incisive assistance at earlier junctures; Eldar Fehl, for his support in gathering data; and Aarif Badarny, for his reflective assistance. Finally, the authors wish to acknowledge support from Debbie Huck, the I-CORE program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee, and the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 1716/12).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 (Oren Golan and Noam Tirosh). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at http://ijoc.org.


  • Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • Middle East
  • apps
  • mobile applications
  • new media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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