The influence of context on how people use facebook ; a comparative study between Iran and New Zealand. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineMedia and Communication
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
This thesis examines the influence of political and economic conditions on how tertiary students use Facebook in Iran and New Zealand. The review of previous studies on social media, and specifically Facebook, shows that this topic has not received much attention from scholars in these countries. This study analyses the topic at both macro and micro-levels using a combination of the political economy, the public sphere, affordances, and a Foucauldian approach to discourse and power. The data were collected via face-to-face in- depth interviews, online questionnaires, document reviews, and observation of selected Facebook public pages.
Foucauldian discourse analysis was used to investigate power and resistance in Facebook discourse. The results suggest that the legal situation of Facebook in Iran has resulted in the separation of Facebook use from daily life in Iran. While in New Zealand using Facebook is part of the daily routines of tertiary students’ lives, for Iranians using Facebook is more about experiencing things that are not accessible in their daily lives in Iran. In addition, the study shows that Iranians engage less than New Zealanders in online communication activities on Facebook, which is influenced by the political conditions in both countries. Furthermore, the quality of how tertiary students use Facebook in Iran and New Zealand has been influenced by economic conditions, and differences in economic infrastructures such as banking systems, law, and international economic relations. The results also show that the price and speed of access to the Internet can influence how tertiary students in Iran and New Zealand use Facebook. The study argues that although the platform is the same in Iran and New Zealand, the political and economic conditions of these countries can deeply influence how tertiary students use Facebook.
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