عنوان مقاله [English]
Given the widespread discussions around globalization, especially cultural globalization (Appadurai, 1996), it is often assumed that this process eventually leads to discouragement and weakening of different cultural particularities. In other words, the assumptions underlying these discussions is that in light of modern IC technologies, the world is moving towards a sort of homogeneity and, to be more specific, convergence with western cultures. In this process, the Internet and virtual social networks are usually referred to as influential tools in the expansion of globalization. According to this analysis, we should expect a gradual dissolution of micro and local cultures into a widespread, global and universal culture. Nevertheless, the events of actual world do not confirm such an analysis. Although globalization has in a way influenced all aspects of human life and not exclusively culture, at the same time we see a diversification and strengthening of particular cultures and collective identities. Today, virtual social networks provide a potentially empowering tool for people with different ethnic backgrounds to pursue their interests. One of the most important characteristics of these networks, with a considerable role in ethnic issues, is weak surveillance over users. In comparison to other means of communication, social networks give greater freedom to people, making it possible for them to express various identities, including ethnic identity. The question that is propounded in this study is about ethnic identity of Facebookâs Turk users. We intend to analyze how Facebook influences the identity of Turk users. Our research hypotheses include: 1) there seems to be a significant relationship between membership period in Facebook and ethnic identity, 2) there seems to be a significant relationship between the amount of Facebook usage and ethnic identity, 3) there seems to be a significant relationship between the level of participation and activity in Facebook and ethnic identity, and 4) there seems to be a significant relationship between aims of users in Facebook and ethnic identity.
Materials and Methods
This is a quantitative study based on online survey, with an Internet-based, researcher-made questionnaire as its data-collecting tool. Given the fact that virtual space does not have a particular location in the real world, and because geographical variance makes accessibility to diverse and multiple users of Facebook practically impossible, and studying a user in actual environment is more effective, we decided to use online questionnaire technique. The validity of the questionnaire was achieved through construct and formal validity. Also, an acceptable rate of Cronbachâs Alpha was achieved for reliability. Research population included Turk users of Facebook social network in Iran in the year 1391. Because there existed no clear sampling framework to estimate the number of Iran's Turk users of Facebook, sampling method was decided upon according to convenience sampling or availability sampling in which subjects are selected on the basis of their availability or easiness to be found. Overall, 300 individuals voluntarily participated in the study. To be more specific, research questionnaire was initially sent to more than 7000 individuals who were identified as Turk users of Facebook. After collecting received questionnaires and elimination of incomplete or spoiled ones, 300 were included in research analysis. Dependent variable, that is, ethnic identity, is divided into four dimensions of emotional, lingual, geographical, and cultural. In order to analyze the data, various statistical techniques have been used including, among others, multiple-variable analysis and structural equation modeling.
Discussion of Results & Conclusions
Research findings show that there are significant and direct relationships between ethnic identity in the one hand, and membership period, the amount of participation and aims users in Facebook on the other. In other words, by increase in these variables, ethnic identity of users increases as well. This is line with research findings of Fakohi and Ayari (1388), Hakimi (1390), and Fernandez (2002). In analyzing these findings one can argue that as a result of boundless expansion of virtual space in the context of globalization, not only have boundaries of ethnic identity not been disappeared, but gained a possibility of clearer manifestation. This is because virtual social networks such as Facebook are tools through which different kinds of individual identities can get away from silence and isolation, obtaining the opportunity of becoming more broadly recognized and seen. Likewise, not only each dimension of ethnic identity is not weaken in Facebook, but they are present in all capabilities of this social network. Turk users seem to try to fully benefit from all applications of Facebook, offering their perspectives and viewpoints on multiple issues. They become members of this social network with a strong feeling of ethnic identity because Facebook has given them an ample opportunity, express their ideas and bound with their other fellow citizens. Regardless of their geographical location and without shared physical presence or cohabitation, they can constitute a virtual community and use Facebook as a communication tool to peruse their multiple demands and expectations. They use this membership as a tool for self-awareness and presentation of their ethnic identity in terms of emotional, ethnic, geographical, cultural, and lingual dimensions.