New Communication Technologies, New Media and the Remaking of Gender and Power in Turkey

TitleNew Communication Technologies, New Media and the Remaking of Gender and Power in Turkey
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Yazici, B.
Affiliation (1st Author)Bogazici University
Section or WGGender and Communication Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeGENT4b
Slot Code (Keyword)GENT4b
Time of Session16:00-17:30
Session TitleGender, Crisis and (Sexual) Violence
Submission ID6854

This paper explores an unintended social use of new communication technologies and media by focusing on how mobile phone cameras and the Internet have been turned into a weapon of gendered violence against women and minors in the Turkish context. It focuses on a new proliferating phenomenon, involving cases of women and minors who find themselves in an ongoing cycle of sexual violence perpetuated by either stranger men or intimate partners. What is striking and new is that this gendered violence builds on and is perpetuated by blackmailer men who threaten women/minors to share mobile phone camera images of their naked bodies and sexual conducts (or rapes) on the Internet. This phenomenon of gendered abuse and violence through new communication technologies can be seen as a “crisis” in the sense that it has initiated a “multi-dimensional change”-legal, educational, technological, journalistic and even therapeutic innovations especially to counter the sexual abuse of minors. Yet, as crises “also engender struggles over causes and solutions which link to differing political… socio-economic interests…and cultural and value systems,” the national debate has entailed a contestation between those who attribute the emerging cases of abuse and violence to the proliferation of new communication technologies and those who underscore the primary role of prevailing patriarchal relations of power and gender. This paper builds on the media analysis of specific cases of this new form of gendered violence to highlight the common patterns, broader dynamics around which this new and meditated gendered violence is unfolding as well as the multiple responses it has prompted. Moving from the premise that communication technologies gain meaning and use in relation to the larger cultural contexts and political relations of power, the discussion demonstrates how the use of new communication technologies has been shaped in the Turkish context by the prevailing forms of gendered power structures and norms, while in turn remaking them. This situated analysis suggests that contextual analyses of new communication technologies are crucial to understand the multiple and contradictory uses and meanings new technologies such mobile phones can acquire in distinct cases.

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