• Simon Christiansen
  • Peter Svendsen
4. semester, Politik og Administration, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This paper aims to investigate selected social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and its potential for deliberation and adding democratic value to society. The study uses Jürgen Habermas and his discourse ethics and theory of Communicative Action as a two-sided study of the social media phenomenon. Firstly, there is an evaluation of Facebook and Twitter as functional public spheres in which communicative actors can communicative freely. This is done so to conclude whether there is a prerequisite for potential deliberation and define potential problems regarding social media as platforms for political discourse and deliberation.
Further the study investigates selected discussions between citizens of Denmark. Two Facebook and two Twitter discussions are selected and the by applying the concept of Communicative rationality the study analyses the speech acts of the communicative actors to evaluate if these discussions become processes in which citizens gain knowledge, reach mutual understanding and agreements, from which they can coordinate their actions.
The study finds structural problems in the functionality of these digital platforms that limit their use as ideal public spheres. Facebook has an inbuilt power relation that makes the starter of a discussion owner, insofar that he can delete further comments. This is problematic in regards to citizens being equal in discussions. Twitter does not have this imbalance, but is however limiting its users in regards to how many words they can post per Tweet. Furthermore, the study concludes that no communicative actors did reach an agreement, not about the factuality of the objective world nor were they able to establish an agreement about valid norms or their rightness. However, some actors did act according to the principles of reaching a mutual understanding. With actors intentionally seeking to reach mutual understanding there is a potential for deliberation but with the current landscape of digital political discussions it is rarely achieved.
Antal sider67
ID: 260445352