Valera Ordaz, L. (2015): “The democratic value of online political discussions: a theoretical-empirical approach“. Comunicación presentadaen el congreso de la International Political Science Association “Communication, Democracy and Digital Technology“. Croacia, 2-3 de octubre.
This paper examines and compares political talk on the Facebook profiles of three Spanish political candidates during General Election 2011 through a content analysis approach that operationalizes essential features of deliberative democracy (discursive diversity, coherence, argumentation, reciprocity and discursive freedom). Findings show that these online spaces do not meet deliberative standards, but that they still serve democratic functions, such as citizen self-expression, democratic socialization and reinforcement of social cohesion among party activists and sympathizers. Moreover, results indicate that their democratic value slightly varies depending on the scope of the ideological sphere where they take place. Political conversation on the walls of hegemonic candidates is mostly oriented towards self-expression and features some ideological diversity, while talk on the Facebook profile of a minor candidate lacks fundamental disagreement but includes more in-group interaction.