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Tanja Carstensen

In the course of sociological research about the Internet, an accompanying range of new methodological approaches have been developed to investigate usage, communication, processes of appropriation, and the virtuality of the Internet. However, the exploration of the Internet as a technological and material object as well as the question of how it is involved in human practices are seen more rarely. This paper presents a methodology of software-based recording and an analysis of the interactions between humans and the Internet, which are visible on the screen. Adding methods of usability and market research to sociological Internet research, this enables us to “move closer” to the technology and to get a detailed view of human practices and Internet “actions” on the interface; therewith, it will be possible to investigate how social practices proceed when Internet technologies are involved, how users handle the Internet and to what extent it enables, facilitates, limits, or hinders practices.

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Hartwig Pautz

Germany's parliamentary democracy appears to be in crisis. The major parties' membership is in decline and barely existing in East Germany, election turnout is decreasing at all levels, and the reputation of politicians has never been worse. At the same time, however, Germans are more interested in politics than in the 1990s, overwhelmingly support democracy, and are keen on participating particularly in local political decision making. Out of this situation emerged www.abgeordnetenwatch.de— a website that aims to re-establish the link between electors and elected by allowing voters and representatives to communicate via a publicly accessible question-andanswer structure. This article addresses the questions of whether such an instrument can revitalize representative democracy and whether it has done so in the context of the 2009 federal elections.

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Katharina Hanel and Stefan Marschall

Facing linkage problems, parties in Germany have started to respond to a changing media environment by reforming their internal structures of opinion forming and decision making, inter alia reacting to the rise of the social web and the successes of the Pirate Party whose party organization is to a large extent “digitalized”. Whether and how established parties implement and adapt Internet tools, i.e., whether these could contribute to more participation of the “party on the ground” or whether they strengthen the “party in central office” is the focus of this article. The case study on the employment of an online platform for drafting a motion for the party convention of the German Social Democrats in December 2011 reveals that the “party in central office” controlled the online procedure as well as the processing of the results to a remarkable extent—thereby constraining the participatory potential of the tool. At the same time, the case study indicates a quality of online collaboration platforms that might limit the instrumentalization of these tools by the party elites in the long run and possibly re-empower the “party on the ground.”

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Femininity Out of Control on the Internet

A Critical Analysis of Media Representations of Gender, Youth, and MySpace.com in International News Discourses

Shayla Thiel-Stern

This article raises issues related to the gendered representation in the print media, particularly English-language newspapers, of girls who use MySpace as foolish innocents who invite sexual predation. It examines the ways in which the stereotyped representation of girls and boys promotes the hegemonic discourses that construct girlhood as a time of helplessness and lack of control, and that blame the technology itself, in this case MySpace, for a multitude of cultural problems. Ultimately, these discourses portray MySpace as a dangerous place where adolescent girls flaunt sexuality, where sexual predators lurk, and where boys commit violence, thus creating and reinforcing a moral panic and extending stereotypes about girls and boys, and about technology.

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Dearly Departed

Communicating with the Dead in the Digital Age

Jennifer Huberman

increasingly interested in studying the ways people use the Internet to mourn and memorialize the dead. They have examined how online memorialization both reproduces and reconfigures traditional mortuary rituals ( Gesesr 1998 ). One of the more striking changes

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Online Documents of India’s Past

Digital Archives and Memory Production

Katja Müller

. While established heritage institutions often carry out online memory production based on historic material, new actors who are not institutionally bound also increasingly enter the field of memory production on the Internet. This raises questions about

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Emma Celeste Bedor

? (IAU; isanyoneup.com). What started as a destination for friends who requested nude photos of his sexual conquests soon grew into a hub for exploitation and revenge, earning Moore the reputation of “the Internet’s most hated man” Lee 2012 ; Stern

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Sanaz Nasirpour

enabled Iranians in the diaspora and women in particular to create international connectivity including back in Iran. Inevitably, the digital space and the Internet have provided Iranian diaspora in general an innovative way for sharing ideas, exchanging

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“Montag ist wieder Pegida-Tag!”

Pegida’s Community Building and Discursive Strategies

Helga Druxes

strategies on which neoliberalism has built its global success. Discourse analysis uncovers both the disjunction between their method and their message and the internal contradictions in the message itself. Pegida uses social media and the internet with an

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Mirjam de Bruijn

It is after all clear that fear has definitively changed camps and that the regime of Idriss Déby experiences much more fear than the Android youth that we are. 1 This quotation is from a 16 February 2016 post by “Fils-de-Maina” (a Chadian internet