Social Media Effect On Politics
In 2011, analysis of empirical evidence in Arab countries seemed to recognize the social media effects in the political arena. Three main arguments supported the euphoric estimations of social media effects on politics. The first and most elaborated argument is that the Internet changed and expanded the notion of the public sphere. In this regard, the public sphere theory, inspired mainly from Habermas’ seminal works, is strongly present in the analysis of political communication during and after the Arab uprisings. Theoretically, this connects to the anti-hegemonic counter-public sphere concepts that are promoted by marginalized actors. The argument goes that decentralized communication through social media enables wider segments of the public to openly participate in the communication process. The Internet could then give those marginalized actors a chance to challenge the mainstream public sphere. Weak political and social actors get the opportunity to use social networking sites to promote their views or uncover events overlooked by the established media system. Online discourses seemed to fulfil “media utopian ideals” by providing access and equality for all users. Indeed, in recent years social networking sites were increasingly used by civic society, such as advocacy groups, civic initiatives, social movements, non-governmental organizations, which otherwise would have limited access to the established media system whether due to political exclusion or weak resources.
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That said, media effects on politics are not uniform around the world
The session opened with a paper by Laura Pérez Rastrilla (Universidad Complutense, Madrid) titled ‘Ideology, power and language in armed conflicts’. This talk was based on doctoral research into how the Spanish media covered the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. It aimed at setting up a theoretical framework (Derrida, Foucault, Laclau, etc) and key concepts such as intertextuality, name-events and genealogy. The issues raised in the Q&A included the distinctiveness of present-day digital media in relation to those of the late 1990s, media effects on politics and diachronic methods of analysis.
Media Effects on Politics (8010055)