Blogging and citizenship: the lived experience of Malaysian bloggers
thesisposted on 2017-02-23, 01:09 authored by Mohamed, Shafizan
Guided by the intention to understand the relationship between blogging and the political transformations in Malaysia, this research study asks ‘How does blogging affect the citizenship practices of the everyday Malaysian bloggers?’ To answer this question, 30 Malaysian bloggers were interviewed and their blogs observed. Focusing specifically on the experiences of the Malaysian citizen bloggers who are not part of the political elites and have been systematically excluded by the established political culture, this research contributes to Malaysian political and media scholarship by capturing and explicating how blogging enables everyday Malaysians to maneuver through the complex dynamics of a contested political culture, democratic media practice and individual life experiences as they are lived at a particular juncture of Malaysian political and media history. The study found that blogging allowed the bloggers to understand and participate in political discourses that are relevant and manifest in their own everyday lives, offering a more participative and deliberative accounts of politics, and an alternative to the established elitist and partisan Malaysian politics. This case is exemplified by how the bloggers in this study were able to negotiate the political by linking politically abstract laws and policies to how these notions are experienced in their everyday through blogging. Despite this new political experience, the study also identified interesting ambiguities in the ways the bloggers still uphold certain established structures such as religion and gendered traditions in their attempt to make sense of and adapt to the changes and conventions that shape their position as Malaysians. Thus, this study proposes that blogging fits into a changing Malaysian political landscape by enabling non-subversive political participation that expresses a desire to belong to a broader and more inclusive culture than the one that presently exists in Malaysia.