Social Network Sites and Civic Activism: Facebook in Afghanistan

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Abstract

This study involves understanding how Facebook impacted on civic activism in Afghanistan. It aims to discover the contribution of Facebook in civic participation of youth and the facilities that Facebook has provided for civic actions to actors. Specifically, it examines the role of Facebook in the ‘Tabassum’ and the ‘Enlightening’ movements. This article relies on data collected during my master’s thesis (2016 – 2017) at Erciyes University through a qualitative study based on virtual ethnography. The data is collected through online participant observation, online in-depth interviews and online questionnaire. In this study, 52 participants responded to the online questionnaire, and 15 activists involved in above-mentioned movements’ through both online and offline activities, participated in in-depth interview via Facebook Messenger. The study found out that, despite the limited access to the internet and spread of misinformation, Facebook has provided the activists with a range of possibilities of coordinating activities related to the two mentioned movements, covering and mobilizing, which can be considered as a new public sphere. This article depicts a picture of the usage of Facebook in civic participation and collective civic actions in Afghanistan.

Keywords: Social Network Sites, Civic Activism, Facebook, the ‘Tabassum Movement’, the ‘Enlightening Movement’, Afghanistan

Source: The European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences