Connecting Cultures: Intercultural Dialogue and the Blogosphere
Osch, Ingrid van
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This thesis discusses the extent to which the Dutch blogosphere can provide a space for intercultural dialogue between Dutch and diasporic identities. Drawing on Habermas' conception of the public sphere and Homi Bhabha’s notion of Third Space in relation to cultural identity, it is shown that intercultural dialogue needs a space where there are no dominant discourses, neither several counter-discourses, but where there is one hybrid discourse in which every member of society has equal access and where mutual respect and understanding are stimulated. The debate about the blogosphere has developed into different directions. One end of the pole describes the blogosphere as the ideal democratizing space for dialogue, allowing every citizen a voice. On the other hand, issues concerning different kinds of access – from material to discursive access - emphasize the pitfalls of the blogosphere. Through the discursive analysis of several weblogs, including GeenStijl, WijBlijvenHier and three examples of the disregarded genre of journal-logs, in relation to Geert Wilders’ anti-islamisation film Fitna, it is shown that discursive polarization prevents intercultural dialogue to develop. It is argued that journal-logs have considerable potential to establish dialogue, because it are expressions of sentiment, capable of transmitting memory and ultimately leading to respect and understanding of the Other. Even if weblogs turn out to be a passing craze, this thesis provides insight into intercultural dialogue and representations in modern Dutch society.