Title: Political carnivalism and an emerging public space: examination of a new participatory culture on Twitter

Authors: Chang Sup Park

Addresses: College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 1100 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA

Abstract: Carnivals are not only social gatherings for celebration but also arenas where people can resist dominant power with free expression of non-legitimate voices. The 2011 Seoul mayoral election has shown how political carnivalism manifests itself. During the campaign, Twitter was rife with carnivalistic postings that included humour, satire, and parody, targeting the establishment. Twitter users also satirised mainstream media for neglecting the role of leading citizens in the democratic process. Twitter was not only a place of play, but also a place to ridicule the absurdities of politicians. Political carnivalism portends a new, evolutionary form of political engagement and helps us understand the increasing complexity of citizens' political attitudes and viewpoints. The current study contributes to the literature by documenting how a leading social media, Twitter, can be effectively transformed into a democratic pubic space by allowing citizens to engage in public affairs in carnivalistic ways.

Keywords: political carnivalism; Twitter; public sphere; political participation; elections; Seoul mayoral election; Korea; humour; satire; parody; political attitudes; citizen engagement; political communication; social media; ; e-democracy; electronic democracy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2013.060645

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2013 Vol.6 No.4, pp.302 - 318

Received: 08 Jul 2013
Accepted: 23 Jan 2014

Published online: 23 Apr 2014 *

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