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Non-Democratic Sides of Cyberspace and Political and Social Structure of the State


Purpose: The relationship between cyberspace and democracy has been one of the most controversial issues during the last two decades. The main question particularly lies in the fact whether cyberspace can restrict the authoritarian state. The study aims, in the first step, to examine the arguments for and against some basic concepts which are related to the question of the study and those debates including “virtual civil society”, “virtual public sphere”, “state accountability” and “creating some spaces for resistance”. Then, Non-Democratic Sides of Cyberspace were examined and it was revealed that they are not related to cyberspace per se. These features arise from political, social and economic structures; but cyberspace can represent them, at the best. In other words, internet should be looked at as a tool or a medium, not as a goal per se. Design/Methodology/Approach: In this article, the main arguments for and against the democratic sides of cyberspace were examined and some evidence was given for each. Then, it was indicated that all of them are a part of truth. To understand the concrete reality on cyberspace we should refer to context (social, economic structures) which is known as structural approach. Findings: Our thesis can be summed up by one typical statement: "structures and actions determine the political and social system and internet and cyberspace can only act as a catalyst". No evidence could be found to show us that activity in cyberspace can make a great change in political, social relations and structures, on the contrary, there is clear-cut evidence that the state and social, economic institutions, have used this tool in promoting and achieving their goals. Originality/Value: The two different approaches toward cyberspace and its impact on promoting democracy process are not new. Our contribution to this process, in the first step, is to categorize and analyze them based on their reasons and evidence and more importantly, to show that these two approaches are Two sides of the same coin. To understand the democracy process and nature of the state, we should refer to the concrete context including social and economic structures and not to virtual tools.

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