Intimacy for ‘deliberative democracy’? The role of ‘friendship’ in the participatory use of Facebook

Lisa Yuk Ming LEUNG, Lock Betty YUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Ever since its inception, Facebook as a social media has quickly emerged as a platform for discussion of political issues and social movement mobilization, taking the place of other relevant discussion websites. On the one hand, how has the settings of the social media enhanced the quality of discussion in political and social issues prevailing Hong Kong, to the extent that it helps the realization of the Habermasian notion of ‘public sphere’? On the other hand, could the Facebook communities in turn undermine the free speech environment that deliberative democracy stems from? This paper examines the participatory use of Facebook as an online platform. It argues that while Facebook solicits an intimate setting (under the guise of ‘friendship’) hospitable for rational and possibly intensive rational debates which are integral to the fostering of ‘deliberative democracy’, it also breeds the Foucauldian idea of ‘disciplinary gaze’ which excludes rather than fosters meaningful/ quality debates. Drawing mainly on focus groups, interviews and textual analysis data, the paper will hope to combine notions around online participation such as ‘affective citizenship’ and public sphere in the critical analysis of one of the most essential online social platform of our time.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Citation

Leung, L. Y.-m., & Yung, B. (2013, March). Intimacy for ‘deliberative democracy’? The role of ‘friendship’ in the participatory use of Facebook. Paper presented at the 8th Annual Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.

Keywords

  • Facebook as ‘deliberative democracy’? The role of ‘friendship’ in the participatory use of social media

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