Effects of Social Media on Political Participation in Turkey Cover Image

Türkiye’de Sosyal Medyanın Siyasi Katılıma Etkileri
Effects of Social Media on Political Participation in Turkey

Author(s): Gülüm Şener, Perrin Öğün Emre, Fatih Akyıldız
Subject(s): Media studies, Politics and communication, Politics and society, Social development, Sociology of Politics
Published by: Uluslararası Kıbrıs Üniversitesi
Keywords: Online political participation; social networks; democracy; Gezi Park resistance; digital activism;

Summary/Abstract: With the proliferation of social networking sites, participatory democratic practices increase, new forms of political participation emerge as alternative to the limited ways of political participation in representative democracies, and also online and offline political practices merge, resulting in prominent changes in political life. In recent years, social media led some permanent political and social changes on communicational, organizational and action levels in social movements such as Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Indignados which occurred against the economic crisis in Spain. A group of scholars argue that the Internet mobilizes people who are already politically active and interested in political issues. However, sceptic scholars underline that the access and interaction via social networking only is not adequate enough for political participation and also can not play a unique role for the enhancement of democracy. During Gezi Park Resistance in Turkey, social media became an alternative news source, it played an important role on communication, organization and cooperation of dissidents providing consistency of resistance by allowing the participation of masses. In a sense, Gezi Parkı Resistance, in which ‘disorganized people’, young generation, marginalized identities meet, has contributed to the emergence of new alternative participation networks and made the social media into the arena of the resistance by affecting also the use of social media. Whereas the efforts to understand and frame Gezi Movement still continue among scholars, it seems important to make a general assessment about the civic and political participation of citizens in social networks in the light of empirical findings. This study aims to determine the effects of social media on individuals’ political participation in Turkey at large. The data were gathered from 11 cities using phone survey method. One of the key findings of the study is that social media have a relative impact on individual’s political participation; and variables such as age, education, socio-economic level and the level of interest for politics play an important role in online civic engagement.

  • Issue Year: 21/2015
  • Issue No: 83
  • Page Range: 75-98
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Turkish