Rethinking digital media use for diasporic political participation: An investigation into journalism advocacy, digital activism, and democratic divides (Dissertation summary)
Keywords:online political participation, diaspora journalism advocacy, democratic divide, diasporic digital activism
By presenting five studies on connected research questions, this cumulative dissertation develops a novel understanding of the concept of Hybrid Diasporic Public Sphere by examining how three groups of diasporic exiles, including journalists, activists, and ordinary refugees settled in democratic states, use digital media to engage in transnational conflicts and advocate for political and social change in their homelands. The study demonstrates that the roles of the three diasporic political actors are highly interactive, overlapping, and complementary and their digitally-empowered collaborations blur boundaries between their normative role distinctions creating new interchanging political logics, norms, and practices. The novel contribution of this thesis lies at three levels. First, it redefines diaspora journalism in conflict contexts by examining the Syrian journalists’ media advocacy strategies and digital networks that blend activism, human rights advocacy, and social movements. Second, it further identifies five barriers to the digital diasporic political participation of ordinary refugees demonstrating new forms of democratic divides. Third, the study develops the concept of connected diaspora activist identifying the current challenges that undermine the potential of social media use for mobilizing a political change in non-revolutionary times. The dissertation employs four qualitative research methods including digital ethnography, content analysis, metajournalistic discourse analysis, and a total of 94 in-depth interviews.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Rana Arafat
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