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Free Content Sustainability and communication practices in grassroots movements in Turkey following Gezi Park Protests: Cases of Dogancilar Park Forum, Macka Park Forum and Validebag Volunteers

Recent social movements, as exemplified by the informal organizations formed during and after the Occupy Movement in the United States and Gezi Park Protests in Turkey, are characterized by distrust towards institutional political bodies and hierarchical organizations (Boler et al. 2014). Also, the debate on the relationship between social movements and digital media technologies often highlights the opportunities that these technologies provide for ‘largely unfettered deliberation and coordination of action’ (Castells 2012). Scholars critical towards the concept argue that horizontal grassroots organizations may suffer from problems of continuity and formation of a durable movement (Calhoun 2013). This article aims to investigate the organizational characteristics and media practices of grassroots organizations that were established or mobilized following Gezi Park Protests, a nation-level social protest in Turkey. Drawing on participant observation of three grassroots social movement organizations in Istanbul ‐ Dogancilar Park Forum and Imrahor Garden; Macka Park Forum and Komsu Kapisi Association and Validebag Volunteers ‐ this analysis will aim to contextualize opportunities and obstacles associated with the horizontal structures of such movements. The article will particularly focus on the strategies that these organizations utilize to maintain the sustainability of the respective movements and approaches they employ in media and communication practices at a local level.

Keywords: ICTs; alternative media; communication practices; iron law of oligarchy; organizational structure; participatory media; social movements grassroots; tyranny of structurelessness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000106887552Koç University and 0000000121168564Kadir Has University 2: 0000000106887552Koç University

Publication date: April 1, 2020

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  • The Journal of Alternative and Community Media (JOACM) publishes research which helps explain the shifting media environment, and the ways in which people use alternative forms of media and communication. Issues of concern to the journal include the nature and distribution of media power; access to and participation in media; media practices of communities and social movements; and the possibilities of emerging technologies and new media.

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