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Social Media Essay

6494 words - 26 pages

International Conference on Communication, Media, Technology and Design ICCMTD 09-11 May 2012 Istanbul - Turkey

“THE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A PUBLIC SPHERE: THE RISE OF SOCIAL OPPOSITION” Asst. Prof. Dr. A. Fulya ŞEN Fırat Üniversitesi İletişim Fakültesi - Gazetecilik Bölümü - Elazığ Abstract In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Habermas described the bourgeois public spheres of the 18th and 19th century in England, France, and Germany. These spheres arose as arenas of cultural critique often arising from reading societies that focused on novels and the like. Cultural critique became political critique as these groups turned to issues of public concern fighting policies of ...view middle of the document...

Social media’s real potential lies in supporting civil society and the public sphere. The social media has become contested terrain, a new form of class struggle, national liberation and pro-democracy movements. In this study, the role of social media in a democratic society, the power of social media on creating a public sphere and the rise of social opposition through social media have been debated on latest examples of global social opposition. Key Words: Public sphere, social media, democracy, social opposition. Introduction The idea of "the public sphere" in Habermas's designates a theater in modern societies in which political participation is enacted through the medium of talk. It is the space in which citizens deliberate about their common affairs, hence, an institutionalized arena of discursive interaction. This arena is conceptually distinct from the state; it a site for the production and circulation of discourses that can in principle be critical of the state. Habermas’s the "liberal model of the bourgeois public sphere” is the rise and decline of a historically specific and limited form of the public sphere. It is believed that new form of public sphere is required to salvage this arena's critical function and to institutionalize democracy (Fraser, 1990). Deliberative democratic public sphere theory has become increasingly popular in Internetdemocracy research and commentary. In terms of informal civic practices, advocates of this theory see the internet as a means for the expansion of citizen deliberation leading to the formation of rational public opinion. According to many internet-democracy commentators, researchers and practitioners, internet is a deliberative public sphere as the ideal for citizen participation in politics. In contrast to the mass media, the Internet is seen as a force for ‘radical democracy’. The Internet is seen as helping marginalized groups – those groups associated with discourses excluded from the mainstream public sphere – develop their own deliberative forums, link up, and subsequently contest dominant meanings and practices. Before the advent of new media, the earlier mass media of press and broadcasting were seen as adequate and beneficial for the conduct of democratic politics and the sustainment of public opinion in the public sphere. These forms of media enabled the information about public events to be passed to all citizens and politicians and governments were able to be criticised by the society. However, information flow was predominantly vertical or unedirectional and the heightened commercialisation of the media market lead to the neglect of democratic communication roles between the public itself and the leaders, institutions and organisations within mass media. Thus, earlier forms of mass communication limited access and discouraged active political participation and deliberative dialogue within the public sphere. The new media have been hailed as a potential way to break away from the...

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