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From Virtual to Local Realities: Access to ICT and Women Advocacy Networks in Turkey

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the advocacy networks in the local context of Turkey. To avoid the limitations stemming from the unfounded optimism of the mainstream theoretical approaches (Idealist model) undermining the level of socioeconomic development of Turkey, the paper employs the realistic/alternative approach called "knowledge society perspective." In the theoretical part (Section 2), I compare and contrast the two theoretical approaches and discuss the policy implications from a critical perspective. It is claimed that the knowledge society approach is more appropriate in the understanding of specific problems of Turkey with regard to the production, distribution, access, and power relationships in the context of ICTs. The main empirical focus of the paper is women advocacy networks and their use of ICTs. In order to substantiate the claims developed in the theoretical discussion, the results of the survey conducted among women advocacy networks are presented. The main finding of the survey shows that, in the context of Turkey, the ICTs and advocacy networks are used only by an elite sector of the Turkish women. In contrast with the assumed potential of the ICTs as inclusive technologies, the fact that they can work to exclude large segments of the population casts doubt on the universal validity claims of the mainstream theories.


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