Online Outsiders: A Research on Digital Disabled Activism in TurkeyÖvünç Meriç Fermanoğlu
The conceptual framework of this article is composed of “network society” (Van Dijk, 2016) and “digital activism” (Joyce, 2010). Van Dijk (2016) has observed the rise of the network society and according to that, he defines network society as communication networks that shape the most important forms of an organization in a society. The infrastructure of digital activism is based on the digital network (Joyce, 2010). With the influence of the new media, especially in the last decade, disability and methods of publicly representation the lives and experiences of people with disabilities have been witnessed and their ways of representing themselves have expanded. In the second half of the 20th century new social movements and digital activism have brought profound changes. The increasing global impact of wider human rights discourses has made possible a number of cultural representations that allow more progressive ways of seeing and understanding disability in different contexts. New media technologies offered new ways for citizens and movements to mobilize and organize themselves. In this context, the subject of this article is digitalized disability activism in Turkey. This article explores the opportunities and challenges in practice and disabled digital activism perspectives in Turkey. In this study, online media environments in Turkey such as the Internet newspapers, blogs, forums, social networking sites, especially Twitter contents were investigated via disabled keyword between 19-26 January 2019. Content analysis technique was used to evaluate the data sets and the findings were evaluated through descriptive method.
Çevrimiçi Hariciler: Türkiye’de Dijital Engelli Aktivizmi Üzerine Bir AraştırmaÖvünç Meriç Fermanoğlu
Bu makalenin kavramsal çerçevesini “ağ toplumu” (Van Dijk, 2016) ve “dijital aktivizm” (Joyce, 2010) oluşturmaktadır. Van Dijk (2016) ağ toplumunun yükselişini gözlemlemiştir ve buna göre ağ toplumunu, bir toplumdaki en önemli organizasyon biçimlerini şekillendiren iletişim ağları olarak tanımlar. Dijital aktivizmin altyapısı ise dijital ağ kavramına dayanır (Joyce, 2010). Yeni medyanın etkisi ile birlikte özellikle son on yılda, engellilik ve engellilerin yaşamlarının ve deneyimlerinin kamuya açık bir şekilde temsil edilme yöntemlerine tanıklık edilmiş ve onların kendilerini temsil etme yolları genişlemiştir. 20. yüzyılın ikinci yarısında yeni sosyal hareketler ve dijital aktivizm derin değişiklikler getirmiştir. Daha geniş insan hakları söylemlerinin artan küresel etkisi, engelliliğin farklı bağlamlarda görülmesi ve anlaşılmasının daha ilerici yollarına izin veren bir takım kültürel temsilleri mümkün kılmıştır. Yeni medya teknolojileri, yurttaşların ve sosyal hareketlerin mobilizasyonu ve örgütlenmesi için yeni yollar sunmuştur. Bu bağlamda makalenin konusu Türkiye’de çevrimiçi ortamda engelli aktivizmidir. Bu makale, Türkiye’deki engelli dijital aktivizm perspektifleri ve uygulamalarındaki fırsatları ve zorlukları incelemektedir. Bu çalışmada, 19 Ocak 2019 ve 26 Ocak 2019 tarihleri arasında, engelli anahtar sözcüğü ile Türkiye’deki çevrimiçi ortamda yer alan internet gazeteleri, bloglar, forumlar, Twitter başta olmak üzere sosyal ağ siteleri içerikleri araştırılmıştır. Veri setlerinin değerlendirilmesi için içerik analizi tekniği kullanılmış ve elde edilen bulgular betimsel yöntem aracılığıyla değerlendirilmiştir.
This article focuses on how the influence of online new media ecology has affected disability activism in Turkey. The framework of this article is ‘network society’ (Van Dijk, 2016) and ‘digital activism (Joyce, 2010). Van Dijk (2016) has observed the rise of the network society and according to that, he defines network society as communication networks that shape the most important forms of an organization in a society.
New media technologies bring new ways for citizens and movements to mobilize and to organize. Joyce (2010) stated that citizens around the world have become increasingly aware of and interested in the expanding use of digital technologies - mobile phones and internet-enabled devices for example - in campaigns for social and political change. These practices, which we refer to as ‘digital activism’ have been reported by journalists, dissected by bloggers and eagerly studied by scholars. Students’ activities and enthusiast wish to understand and replicate the most effective tactics (Joyce, 2010).
The transformation of traditional media into new media has initiated a new userdominated content publishing/broadcasting era. In the rise of the social media era, activists have made less dependent on traditional media like newspapers or televisions. Some researcher claim that new media offers some opportunities for ‘non-elite’ actors and marginalized or disadvantaged groups to acquire visibility in the public sphere (Chadwick, 2013). In the west, some research shows that although the growth in digital activism has initiated new strategies for disability protest, its ability to influence traditional news media debates remains pivotal to its effectiveness and power to represent the voice of disabled people (Pearson & Trevisan, 2015).
Within the context of the literature reviewed, this article examines six main research questions:
1. What are the socio-demographic characteristics of users who produce the digital content related to disability?
2. What are the occupations and interests of users who produce digital content on disability?
3. What is the geographical distribution of digital content produced on disability in Turkey? In which areas is the right to disability advocacy concentrated?
4. What kind of content has been produced by sharing the disabled hashtag in the digital environment?
5. What types of online media distribution in disability-related content produced in Turkey? Which platforms are used mostly to generate content? 6. How and for which purposes do disabled activists use new media?
There are a growing number of options open to researchers seeking to capture and analyze online content. Network analysis tools increasingly used – reflecting a shift in the understanding and practice of the Web as a dynamic social context. In this study, open source new media monitoring tool is used. Monitoring tools allow for collecting and analyzing real-time information. In this article, content analysis technique was used to evaluate the data sets and the findings were evaluated through descriptive method. The notion ‘disabled’ as a term is searched through newspapers and online news, TV / Radio, news agencies, blogs, forums, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, EkşiSözlük. Data for the research is collected between 19-26th of January 2019.
According to the results of the web content analysis: young adults between 18 and 34 years of age produced more content for disabled people than older adults aged between 55 and 64+. The gender distribution of the content about disability in the online environment, it was found that male users produced more content (61.5%). The percentage of women in content production is 38.5%. According to the conversation map, most active users in Turkey, live in Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir, and Eskişehir (73.2%). The share of media types analyze has shown that the most popular online environment and digital activist tool is Twitter (84.8%).
Disabled people produced the content with the same theme (for example, they want to increase disabled quota from the 3 percent to 5 percent than shared a tweet with #disabledquota5percent) in Twitter to spread this content throughout the country and has contributed to creating well-targeted online networks. This analysis has shown how disabled activists have positioned themselves beyond the traditional activism and mainstream media barriers which have using online environments like Twitter and other social network platforms.