Observatorio (OBS*) Journal, 8 (2009), 286-310

How Turkish Young People Utilize Internet Cafes:
The Results Of Ethnographic Research In Ankara

Mutlu Binark, Başkent University
Günseli Bayraktutan Sütcü, Başkent University
Fatma Buçakçı, Ankara University

We  think  that  the  Internet  cafés  in Turkey  are  the most  cheapest  places where  the  young  people meet each other and socialize both in offline and online. Young people develop a tendency to utilize the same Internet café, and thus this using practice empowers already existed social networks among the  young  people.  The  Internet  cafés  are  the  places where  game  culture  is  promoted  among  the young people as well. This game culture contains two dimensional game related economy; firstly, the player has  to pay per hour usage  fee  for  the equipment  (pc, microphone etc.), secondly,   although the most popular games played at the Internet cafés are  free to play,  in order to survive within the
game  world  the  player  has  to  invest  in  online  economy  by  spending  his/her  real money.  In  this context,  in  the  first  part  of  the  paper,  a  brief  history  of  the widespread  of  the    Internet  cafés  in Turkey  will  be  summarized,  and  then,  the  findings  of  the  ethnographic  field  study,  conducted  in Ankara  at micro  scale will  be  discussed.  At  the  end  of  the  paper,  the  development  of  new media literacy approach stemming from both critical pedagogy and critical media literacy theory, which gives responsibility to the user and the education process itself, will be suggested against the conservative technopolitics that recently aims to protect children and young people through controlling the content of the Internet and Internet cafés in Turkey.

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