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Local governments and civic engagement in network society: the cases of Kadıköy and Üsküdar municipalities

Çavuş, Gülin
Network Society is assumed to be more democratic and participatory. However, this assumption has come under critical scrutiny recently. Social media is one of the key arenas through which various groups and institutions share information and express opinions. Although it is not possible to think the social life without social media anymore, nevertheless whether such interactive fields are really democratic and effective means of communication is a question mark. This thesis problematizes civic engagement in local administrations by focusing on the Twitter usage of Kadıköy and Üsküdar Municipalities. The investigation conducted in this thesis has shown that current network relations with platforms such as Twitter are not based on trust which is essential for a democratic relationship. As a result of the content analysis on the tweets of Kadıköy and Üsküdar Municipality, features such as delegation of authority, online political polarization, lack of control mechanism of unanswered requests were found to be far from being based on trust. Based on these findings the thesis argues that local authorities should change their approach to Twitter from instrumental to communicative rationality. Likewise, there is also a need for a third-party involvement which monitor the communications between local authorities and citizens.