Investigating identity formation in the virtual public sphere: The case of Piaţa Universităţii Facebook page



Along with the steering crisis of the modern democratic state, the public sphere and the mainstream media have lost their legitimacy to generate a discursive space free from constraints and with open access to a large variety of citizens. Ordinary citizens might not fnd their voice in mainstream media and feel not represented. The aim of this article is to investigate online identity formation on Facebook in the context of protests occurring in a public square in Romania. It will discuss the communicational identities created in this virtual space for those protesting online, the political class and for the media. This paper is also observing the construction of a public sphere on Facebook, namely an arena where users could atend public debates and fnd beter solutions for their common problems. Results show that the Facebook page analyzed operates as an open space (free access for users and freedom of expression) where democratic debate and civic initiatives are stimulated.

Keywords: virtual public sphere, identity, Facebook, dispositive