Self-Representation of the Romany Ethnicity in Social Media and Socio-Digital Compensation of the Otherness

Guzel Korver S., Keskin S.



This study consists of a cultural analysis of social media usage as a platform for self-representation and socio-digital compensation of Roman users who are exposed to problems in terms of representation and recognition due to their position as a minority group in Turkey. The aim of the study, which examines the identity building of a group of Romany users organized on Facebook under the name of Romany Research Center, is to determine the functions, maneuvers and cultural aspects of the self-representation practices of the Romany ethnic identity under socio-digital conditions and to understand the ways in which digital building actions transform the relationship between identity and otherness in the context of Romany users. In the study, which focuses on representation of ethnicity and cultural identity, the netnography method, defined as social network ethnography, was used to analyze the cultural interfaces and shares on the page. Within the framework of the method, the shares on the community page were coded as cultural layers and identity generators, and a wide-ranging observation and document review process was undertaken. The cultural codes interpreted from a descriptive perspective show that the members who share the Romany identity think about the perception of being `We' together with the Turkish national identity and construct another identity known as Gaco (Non-Romany). The findings of the study reveal that the organization/composition of proving laundering and innocence is dominant instead of autonomous and positive constructs in the socio-digital construction process of the Romany ethnic identity. In this case, it may be argued that the community members continue to create an awareness of their problems by closing the information gap in a sense by freely displaying their positive identities that the media ignores.