Online Participation and Dissent in Turkey: From the Gezi Protests to the 15 July Coup Attempt

Apak, Oylun. 2020. Online Participation and Dissent in Turkey: From the Gezi Protests to the 15 July Coup Attempt. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

How do people use smartphones and online social networks to participate in social movements? The role of online social networks in political participation has previously been made light of with concepts like ‘clicktivism’ and ‘slacktivism’ which emphasise the authenticity of all offline activity over online practices. This thesis challenges the concepts and terminologies that reflect the dichotomous understandings of the online vs. offline worlds by questioning the scientific validity of the exaltation of street over online participation. The project proposes a more integrated understanding of participation in politics through an overlapping of online and offline actions and consequences with the help of two case studies concerning the recent political history of Turkey, namely, the 2013 Gezi protests and the 2016 attempted coup. Video posts created by participants in each case have been analysed to understand videocapturing and posting strategies and how different content has been created in anti-and pro-government political situations. The findings from these studies are interpreted with reference to the legal trajectory of Internet technologies and online social networks in Turkey and reveal how this changing online landscape acts both as a perpetrator and a product of certain political participation strategies. By proposing the concept of ‘meta-activism’ as key to understanding the inevitable role of online actions in political participation in the contemporary world, this thesis aims to demystify the purist notion of activism as a street-based practice. This thesis also contributes to discussions about online vs. offline participation under unusual political circumstances by presenting a specifically non-Eurocentric perspective on the practices and consequences of online participation in politics as well as bringing together findings from two very distinct cases of political upheaval in Turkey’s recent history.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


online social networks; social media; social movements; activism; Turkey; Gezi Protests; 15 July; coup; personal videos; Vine; Facebook

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 November 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2021 11:09

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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