Visiting Scholar, Dr. Viktorija Car, to give lecture entitled, "Political Discourse of Croatian Wikipedia: Two Faces of Croatian History"

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 00:00 to 13:00
Bowen 108

Dr. Viktorija Car, Visiting Scholar with the Social Science Research Center, will give a talk on November 20, 2017 at noon in Bowen 160.  The title of her presentation is, "Political Discourse of Croatian Wikipedia: Two Faces of Croatian History" All welcome.

Dr. Viktorija Car is Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, at the Faculty of Political Science – Media and Communication Department. She got her Ph.D. degree at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and during the doctoral study she spent one semester at the University of Lund, Sweden where her advisor was Professor Peter Dahlgren. In the focus of her scientific research are public service media, visual culture and visual media, media narratives, digital activism, media and gender studies, media and minority studies. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Media Studies journal ( and member of the Editorial Board of the Anali HPD journal published by the Croatian Political Science Association. She was member of the HRT Program Council (Croatian public service radio-television) 2011-2012, and she is one of the founders of the Free and Responsible Media group within the Human Rights House Zagreb. She was a MC member of the COST Action IS0906: Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies: „New challenges and methodological innovations in European media audience research“. She worked as a journalist and a screen-writer for the Croatian Public Service Television Hrvatska televizija (HTV) 1998-2002, at the Education Program; she was general manager of the Croatian Association of Fine Artists (HDLU) 2003-2004.


About the lecture:

Social and political life, and economy as well, today have become extensively situated within the domain of the media. For younger generations the interpretation of history, art, politics or science is relevant almost only within Google and within Wikipedia. Outside these two platforms, the world of information and interpretation hardly exists. Searching or investigating these two platforms, can be a real “democracy check”. The media transform societies (Corrigan 1997; Couldry 2000; McQuail 2000; Bennett and Entman 2001; Curran 2002; Meyer 2002; Nunes 2006; Shirky 2008). What the media are constructing is a certain representation of reality. The nature and role of the media, among others, are important factors that shape the character of democracy and of civic engagement within it. Citizens around the world have become increasingly aware of and interested in the expanding use of digital technologies in their socially engaged communications. This presentation focuses on how particular groups in Croatia are taking the opportunities for digital (civil and political) activism, offered by new media platforms like Wikipedia, to promote ideology of Croatian nationalism. We define digital activism as the practice of using digital technology for political and social change, for promotion of different ideologies, for social mobilization towards promotion of democracy and tolerance or exclusiveness and hate (Joyce, 2010). Croatian Wikipedia was created in 2003. In last few years, while researching published articles, we realized big discourse difference especially in articles on Croatian history during the WWII. Such articles are often revised by users, and always followed with administrators’ editing. Checking the history of one article we can see that within few hours or days different kind of history is told on Croatian Wikipedia. Once it is written from the nationalistic perspective with positive interpretation of the role of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), “Ustaše” regime and its leader Ante Pavelić – next time it is written from the anti-fascist perspective, blaming Ustaše for collaborating with Nazis and killing thousands of civilians.

When searching for information on general nouns, events, historical figures - Wikipedia as a source of information is always listed first on Google. If we search for the same topics in different time intervals, we can get completely opposite discourse on events and could become very confused – which “facts” are “real facts”? Which interpretation of Croatian history is the “correct” one? In 2012, journalist M.G. made an experiment – he tried to edit these articles to neutralized nationalistic discourse but all edited articles were soon rejected by administrators. That was when we started to do the research on Croatian Wikipedia – to examine how administrators were fighting with produsers for “the right discourse”.