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Are “untouched citizens” creating their deliberative democracy online? A critical analysis of women’s activist media in Zimbabwe

dc.contributor.advisorRabe, Lizetteen_ZA
dc.contributor.authorMpofu, Sibongileen_ZA
dc.contributor.otherStellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Journalism.en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned2017-11-01T12:06:05Z
dc.date.accessioned2017-12-11T10:39:13Z
dc.date.available2017-11-01T12:06:05Z
dc.date.available2017-12-11T10:39:13Z
dc.date.issued2017-12
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102669
dc.descriptionThesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examines women’s political participation in Zimbabwe by investigating whether online media platforms, specifically blogs, provide Zimbabwean women with spaces for critical communicative interaction where they can challenge the dominant discourse and participate in politics. Anchored in the broader conceptualisation of political participation, the epistemological premise of this study explores how everyday conversations by women in blogs on the five selected websites (WCoZ.org, Kubatana.net, Herzimbabwe.co.zw, Herald.co.zw and Chronicle.co.zw) morph into political conversations. Given that the use of the internet, specifically digital communication platforms, is an important pathway to the enhancement of deliberative democracy in society, particularly the engagement in the public sphere by those who are otherwise marginalised from mainstream politics, this study contributes to these debates by determining how and under what circumstances everyday conversations permeate into political conversations. By focusing on women in Zimbabwe, who are without alternative communication platforms to articulate their agendas following state control of the media, this study investigates how political expression and democratic engagement manifest on different types of new media platforms. Womanism, feminist critical and critical political economy theories were used as the most appropriate theoretical points of departure. These paradigms offer a holistic analysis of women’s lived experiences in Zimbabwe and of how political, economic, cultural and social institutions influence women activists’ activities in new media. A qualitative research approach employing the collective case study as a research design was adopted. Data for analysis were collected from the five purposively selected websites and from online semi-structured interviews conducted with selected bloggers from these websites. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis, employing the qualitative analysis software package ATLAS.ti Version 7. The findings reveal that blogs, as alternative and securer spaces, offer possibilities for social transformation by enabling Zimbabwean women to reclaim their space in the political, socio-economic and cultural spheres. This is in contrast to the view that digital media are driven by existing hierarchies and power structures. By introducing their views on issues that affect them and developing a voice of their own, Zimbabwean women are not only challenging the dominant discourse and social norms that oppress them, but also illuminating various other significant personal impacts that women derive from blogging that are relevant for political participation, offering a nuanced understanding of possibilities for political participation and democracy from the premise of everyday conversations whereby previously “untouched citizens” can create a deliberative democracy online.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractAFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die deelname van Zimbabwiese vroue aan die politiek deur te probeer vasstel of aanlynplatforms, spesifiek blogs, ruimte vir kritiese kommunikatiewe interaksie skep waar vroue bestaande dominante diskoerse kan uitdaag en aan die politiek kan deelneem. Geanker in ’n breër konseptualisering van politieke deelname, ondersoek die epistemologiese uitgangspunt van hierdie studie hoe alledaagse gesprekke deur vroue in blogs in die vyf geselekteerde webwerwe (WCoZ.org, Kubatana.net, Herzimbabwe.co.zw, Herald.co.zw en Chronicle.co.zw) morfeer in politieke gesprekke. Die gebruik van die internet, spesifiek digitale kommunikasieplatforms, is ’n belangrike faktor vir die bevordering van deelnemende demokrasie in die samelewing, veral vir betrokkenheid in die openbare sfeer deur diegene wat andersins buite die hoofstroompolitiek gemarginaliseer is. Hierdie studie dra dus by tot die debat deur vas te stel hoe en onder watter omstandighede alledaagse gesprekke verander in politieke gesprekke. Die studie probeer bepaal hoe vroue in Zimbabwe, wat weens die staatsbeheerde media-omgewing sonder alternatiewe kommunikasieplatforms is, hul eie agendas kan artikuleer en hoe politieke uitdrukking en demokratiese betrokkenheid op verskillende nuwe-mediaplatforms manifesteer. Die teorieë van womanism, feministiese kritiese teorie en kritiese politieke ekonomie is as die mees geskikte teoretiese uitgangspunte gebruik. Hierdie paradigmas bied geleentheid vir ’n holistiese analise van vroue se daaglikse ervarings in Zimbabwe en hoe politieke, ekonomiese, kulturele en sosiale instellings die aktiwiteite van vroue-aktiviste in nuwe-media beïnvloed. Die kollektiewe gevallestudie as navorsingsontwerp is as kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering gebruik. Data vir analise is uit die doelbewus gekose vyf webwerwe versamel en aanlyn semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is met doelgewus gekose bloggers van hierdie webwerwe gevoer. Die data is deur kwalitatiewe inhoudsanalise danksy die kwalitatiewe analise-sagtewarepakket ATLAS.ti Weergawe 7 ontleed. Bevindings het getoon dat blogs, as alternatiewe en veiliger ruimtes, moontlikhede bied vir sosiale transformasie deur Zimbabwiese vroue in staat te stel om hul ruimte in die politieke, sosio-ekonomiese en kulturele sfeer terug te eis. Dit is strydig met die siening dat digitale media deur bestaande hiërargieë en magstrukture beheer word. Deur hul standpunte te stel oor kwessies wat hulle raak, en deur ’n eie stem te ontwikkel, daag Zimbabwiese vroue nie net die dominante diskoers en sosiale norme wat hulle onderdruk uit nie, maar belig ook verskeie ander aspekte wat vroue uit blogskryf identifiseer en wat relevant is vir politieke deelname. Daarmee word ’n genuanseerde begrip van moontlikhede vir politieke deelname en demokrasie gebied deurdat alledaagse gesprekke omvorm word sodat voorheen “onaangetaste burgers” hul deelnemende demokrasie aanlyn skep.af_ZA
dc.format.extentxvii, 298 pagesen
dc.language.isoen_ZAen_ZA
dc.publisherStellenbosch : Stellenbosch Universityen_ZA
dc.subjectBlogs -- Womenen_ZA
dc.subjectDigital media -- Womenen_ZA
dc.subjectDeliberative democracyen_ZA
dc.subjectPolitical participationen_ZA
dc.subjectPolitical activists -- Women -- Zimbabween_ZA
dc.subjectUCTD
dc.titleAre “untouched citizens” creating their deliberative democracy online? A critical analysis of women’s activist media in Zimbabween_ZA
dc.typeThesisen_ZA
dc.rights.holderStellenbosch UniversitySTellenbosch u


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