Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Chair

Mary L. Sheffer

Committee Chair Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 2

Vanessa Murphree

Committee Member 2 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 3

Fei Xue

Committee Member 3 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 4

James T. Johnson

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 5

Ann Kinnell

Committee Member 5 Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Abstract

This dissertation work seeks to assess the implications of the internet (blogging) in non-democratic Kyrgyz Republic for engaging civically and politically. Existing literature offers contradictory findings about the role of internet in non-democratic countries and Kyrgyz Republic is one of those non-western countries that have been overlooked. To understand how the internet may relate to engagement civically and politically, the author applies survey approach and in-depth interviews to examine the relationship between the internet and engagement by specifically looking at how Kyrgyz bloggers use the web space.

The sample is drawn from student population. The author collected online 132 responses during the period of January 19, 2015 and March 6, 2015 via Qualtrics surveys. The survey was offered in Kyrgyz, Russian, and English languages.

This research identified that politically active internet users tend to be active offline as well. There was, however, no relationship between civic engagements online with offline. This study sought to know whether gender mattered in how Kyrgyz internet users blogged. Gender played a role in political engagement that men bloggers were more active politically than women bloggers. All other gender analysis revealed no significant differences.

This is believed to be the first research examining bloggers in Kyrgyzstan and offers some knowledge about internet users of Kyrgyz Republic. It is expected that the findings would help to understand on the impact of contemporary internet use and perhaps add a fresh perspective that challenges the dominating scientific knowledge coming from the western world (Dutton, 2013).