World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th – 24th 2010

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New media experiences, communication networks and changing social relations in Turkey (160) - Panel
 

· Date: TUE 20, 5.00-7.00pm

· Institution: California State University, San Bernardino (USA)

· Organizer: Ece Algan

· Language: English

· Description: This panel explores the use of new media and the proliferation of communication networks in Turkey. It surveys a wide variety of new media experiences in Turkey and their social implications, such as the economic and cultural consequences of file sharing of films on the internet, alternative journalism methods and practices by ideological groups, political and social significance of a new Armenian video game, women’s movement and communication networks etc. The panel seeks to understand the impact of globalization, the role of new media in social change, the experience of modernity and the negotiation of cultural identities in Turkey.
Themes: journalism, internet, social networks, media industry, identity, social change & movements

Chair: Nurcay Turkoglu (Marmara University)

Discussant: Ece Algan (California State University, San Bernardino)

Paper presenter: Sevilen Toprak Alayoglu (Marmara University), “Alternative broadcasting in Turkey”
In today’s new commercialized and conglomerate media era in Turkey, political groups’ disseminating their ideologies through broadcasting and publishing can be seen as alternative media. This study will examine broadcasting by ideological groups in Turkey and compare them with examples from Telesur, which is considered in the context of Chavez’s regime in South America and Socialism of 21st century.

Paper presenter: Bora Altun (Marmara University), “Challenging hegemony via file sharing: A study on Turkish users’ film downloads”
File sharing, which is widely used by internet users throughout the world including Turkey in order to obtain global cultural products free of charge, constitutes an alternative film movement. Because file sharing breaks the monopoly of film distribution and production companies in disseminating their own films and making profit. Moreover, films made by users can also find viewers via file sharing, which ends up challenging the global media industries’ hegemony further and contributes to the formation of collective consciousness against these media monopolies.

Paper presenter: Kerem Yavuz Demirba' (Marmara University), “A Political Video Game on Social Memory: Huys (Hope)”
Hrant Dink, an Armenian journalist and founder of Agos newspaper in Turkey, was assasinated by a young Turkish ultra-nationalist, in January 19, 2007. Hudreds of thousands people gathered to show their grieves in his funeral procession, a silent march which was a symbolic moment. Although there has been mistrust and discontent about the ''''legal'''' process of prosecution among the followers of the case, public attention has diminished. Present work focuses on a video game Huys (Hope), which was developed by Armenian youth organization in Turkey, Nor Zartonk, in the second anniversary of Dink murder. Considered as one of first examples of Newsgame genre in Turkey, Huys has been developed around the themes of peace, solidarity and remembering. Discussing the significance of these themes with a focus on the relation between democracy and social memory, this work also problematizes the possible relation between alternative game-making processes and alternative social movements, crystallized as protests against rising nationalism in Turkey.

Paper presenter: Esengul Ayyildiz (Marmara University), “Women’s Movements and Social Communication Networks in Turkey: The case of Kamer and Uçansüpürge”
One of the most important and progressive social movements in Turkey is the women’s movement. Since the 1980s, women’s rights organizations have expressed their goals clearly and they have been crucial in changing the legislation regarding family law and women’s equality in Turkey. This study looks at the activities of two women’s groups (Ucansupurge and Kamer). Many activists working for these organizations have the knowledge of the local culture and have been influential in a semi-feudal environment as mediators, challenging the strict rules of traditions and addressing social problems. Drawing from the in-depth interviews conducted with women’s rights activists and analyzing their websites, this study addresses these questions: What is the role of civic activism in Turkey? What is the intersection point between social communication and transformative civic activism?