Social Media as a Political Arena: A Qualitative Analysis of Online Activism


    Zeynolabedin Jafari Department of Sociology, Faculty of economics, Management and Social Sciences, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran
    Mohammadbagher Jafari * Department of Sociology of Culture, Istanbul, Türkiye | Department of Social Sciences, KMAN Research Institute, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada


Social Media, Political Activism, Online Engagement, Digital Platforms, Activist Challenges, Political Participation


This study aims to explore the dynamic role of social media as a political arena, specifically examining how it facilitates online activism. It seeks to uncover the various ways individuals and groups use social media platforms for political engagement, the impact of these activities on political awareness and change, and the challenges and barriers faced by activists in the digital space. Employing a qualitative research methodology, this study gathered data through semi-structured interviews with 31 participants actively involved in online political activism across diverse social media platforms. Theoretical saturation guided the number of interviews conducted, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the phenomena under study. Data analysis followed an inductive approach, allowing for the emergence of themes and subthemes directly from the data. The analysis revealed four main themes: Platform Dynamics, Activism Engagement, Impact of Activism, and Challenges and Barriers. Platform Dynamics delves into the technical and operational aspects of social media that influence political engagement. Activism Engagement examines the strategies and forms of activism facilitated by digital platforms. Impact of Activism highlights the effects of digital activism on political discourse, policy, and social change. Challenges and Barriers address the various obstacles encountered by activists, including platform limitations and external interference. Social media has become an indispensable arena for political activism, offering both opportunities and challenges for engagement. While it enables unprecedented levels of participation and mobilization, activists face significant barriers, including platform algorithms, censorship, and the risk of online harassment. This study underscores the dual-edged nature of social media in political activism, highlighting the need for strategies that leverage its strengths while mitigating its limitations.


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How to Cite

Jafari, Z., & Jafari, M. (2022). Social Media as a Political Arena: A Qualitative Analysis of Online Activism. Interdisciplinary Studies in Society, Law, and Politics, 1(2), 19-25.

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