Croatia Case Study: Nationalism and Digital Activism in Croatia

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:15 PM
Room: Booth 63
Oral Presentation
Viktorija CAR , Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Nebojsa BLANUSA , Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

The idea that internet and digital media democratize the society (Jenkins and Thorburn, 2003) has been questioned many times from different angles. Henry Jenkins argues that convergence culture, based on the new media technology, helps consumers envision a liberated public sphere, free of network controls, in a decentralized media environment. Sometimes corporate and grassroots efforts reinforce each other, creating closer, more rewarding relations between media producers and consumers, sometimes these two forces are at war  (Jenkins, 2006). The question to argue is if the new technologies endanger democratic political culture or they promise civic renewal.

It is true that the internet age and Web 2.0 technology has enabled the shift from one-to-many to many-to-many communication, which provides support for the heterogeneity of communicational content and activities. It brings the advent of more multidirectional forms of participation as well, which is very important for democratic societies. But, what happens when technology is used for digital activism which final goal is not democratic, when it violates human rights, when it promotes national or ethnic exclusiveness? What happens when digital platforms like Wikipedia.org or Metapedia.org are used to spread propaganda? 

We define digital activism as the practice of using digital technology for political and social change, for promotion of different ideologies, for social mobilization towards promotion of democracy and tolerance, or exclusiveness and hate.

This presentation focuses on how particular groups in Croatia are taking the opportunities offered by new media for digital (civil and political) activism, to promote ideology of Croatian nationalism.