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Social media trivialization of the increasing participation of women in politics in Ethiopia

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Social media, Facebook in particular, is increasingly serving as an alternative platform for discussing politics in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, it has also become a public sphere in which not only political views are shared but also discourses that ridicule women’s increasing role in Ethiopian politics are constructed and disseminated through. By analysing a sample of Facebook texts which tease the wave of women’s appointment to political power in Ethiopia, this paper argues that the discursive meanings of the texts are indicatives of a patriarchal society’s deep-rooted resistance towards women’s engagement in the public sphere as well as its strong desire to maintain the status quo. The theoretical foundation of the analytic framework to be employed in analysing the Facebook messages is the post-structuralist and postmodern approach to discourse, particularly the Habermasian view of the complex relationship between texts, their contexts of productions and interpretations and the broader life world.
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Keywords: Ethiopia; Facebook; gender; media; social media; trivialization; women politicians

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Vienna

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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