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2017 Undergraduate Symposium-Iago Bojczuk

Iago Bojczuk “Using the Social Media Potential in Post-Impeachment Brazil: Youth Action in Fostering Participatory Politics through Digital Memes”
The purpose of this research is to understand the relationship between youth and civic media practices in fostering political participation in Brazil during and after the 2016 impeachment proceedings against Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff. The ongoing political scandals in Brazil, which empowered youth to use social media as a vehicle to share internet memes, suggest significant changes in participatory politics in the country. Within this context, participatory politics can be defined as interactive, peer-based acts through which individuals and groups seek to exert both voice and influence on issues of public concern. Despite being one of the largest democracies in the world, Brazil still has a long way to go in terms of diversifying its media sources in order to allow impactful youth participation in the public opinion. However, the number of Brazilian youth on the internet continues to increase as Brazil becomes one of the most active countries on social media, despite the economic recession. This new culture of increased participation indicates the beginning of a remarkable political transition in Brazil’s democratic history because it directly challenges the country’s long-standing dominant media, television. This diversification suggests a new era of civic engagement that fuels discussions on social media and expands them into the public sphere. Therefore, this research will describe the various roles that social media and internet memes increasingly play in empowering youth in Brazil to engage in civic and political discussions within the context of the impeachment and participatory politics.