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Digital aftermaths of terror: reactions to terrorist attacks on twitter
Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Sociologiska institutionen. (Digsum)ORCID-id: 0000-0003-3665-2476
2020 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)Alternativ titel
Terrorns digitala efterdyningar : reaktioner på terrorattentat på Twitter (Svenska)
Abstract [en]

Background. This thesis explores digital public reactions to terrorist attacks, and specifically how discourses on terrorism become articulated on social media. The overarching aim of the thesis is to explore the reactions spread on social media following attacks, and how these digital platforms may alter or transform the ways in which such attacks are collectively understood and interpreted. It explores issues relating to Twitter as a platform for backchannel meaning making, for downplaying fear mongering practices, the ways different terrorist attacks become co-articulated, as well as the divided attention of networked publics during terror-related events.

Methods. The thesis is made up of four individual papers, each exploring digital reactions to different terrorist attacks on Twitter. The cases include the Utøya massacre in Norway 2011, the Stockholm lorry attack in 2017, 12 different attacks occurring between 2015-2017 in Europe (multi-case study), and the terrorist attack in Sinai, Egypt and the subsequent false alarm about a suspected terrorist attack on Oxford Street Underground station in London, UK, occuring on the same day in 2017. A combination of methods used in this thesis include network analysis of hashtag co-occurrences, and thematic analysis of prominent themes in tweets, using discourse theory as its analytical framework in the qualitative readings. 

Results. The findings of the thesis suggest that discourses on terrorism on social media are shaped by the specific logics present in the connective action of networked publics. The political action of digital audiences is performed in a personalised way that shapes terrorism discourse. How terrorism is understood is influenced by collective ideas of how societies become affected by trauma or resilience, and digital communities engage in downplaying or amplifying practices for such articulations. Prevailing spatial and temporal contexts alsomatter for the ways in which terrorist attacks are understood and reimagined. The (real or perceived) closeness to the attack, the interrelatedness of attacks, and aspects of virality of information plays a role in how terror discourses become articulated in digital spaces. 

Conclusion. This thesis makes theoretical and empirical contributions to the understanding of how digital audiences articulate terrorism discourse in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. It stresses that emotive personal expressions on social media should be understood as a highly politicised reaction, relating to a vast range of issues, such as immigration control, nationalism, or an increased  prevalence of everyday racism. On social media, audiences may both amplify or downplay attention to specific terrorist attacks, and, as such, may choose to provide (or not provide) attention. Social media may thus function as a space for everyday political action in times of terrorism. 

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2020. , s. 46
Serie
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-169295ISBN: 978-91-7855-255-9 (tryckt)ISBN: 978-91-7855-256-6 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-169295DiVA, id: diva2:1423108
Disputation
2020-05-08, Aula Biologica, Biologihuset, Umeå university, Umeå, 15:00 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Forskningsfinansiär
Wallenbergstiftelserna, MAW 2012.0151Tillgänglig från: 2020-04-17 Skapad: 2020-04-14 Senast uppdaterad: 2020-09-23Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. Managing collective trauma on social media: the role of Twitter after the 2011 Norway attacks
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Managing collective trauma on social media: the role of Twitter after the 2011 Norway attacks
2016 (Engelska)Ingår i: Media Culture and Society, ISSN 0163-4437, E-ISSN 1460-3675, Vol. 38, nr 3, s. 365-380Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

This study analyses the meaning-making discourse on Twitter in the 6 days following the 2011 Norway attacks. The attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya resulted in 77 deaths, of which 69 were youths on Utøya, where a summer camp arranged by the Norwegian Social Democratic youth organisation Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF) was being held. The main discursive themes in the material were found to be focused on the Norwegian nation, expressions of solidarity, the meaning and outcomes of the attacks, as well as details of the attacks themselves. These themes were of changing importance over the 6 days following the attacks, as discussions concerning the Norwegian nation and the attacks themselves dropped rapidly in favour of negotiating the explanations behind the attacks. Twitter was shown to be useful for providing backchannel discourse negotiations that were separate from the mass media discourse concerning the attacks.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Sage Publications, 2016
Nyckelord
2011 Norway attacks, backchannel communication, collective trauma, discourse, meaning-making, Twitter
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-112469 (URN)10.1177/0163443715608259 (DOI)000372174300004 ()2-s2.0-84961240320 (Scopus ID)
Projekt
Social Media as Shared Spaces for Collective Coping
Forskningsfinansiär
Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs minnesfond, MAW 2012.0151
Tillgänglig från: 2015-12-08 Skapad: 2015-12-08 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-03-24Bibliografiskt granskad
2. Pizza, beer and kittens: negotiating cultural trauma discourses on Twitter in the wake of the 2017 Stockholm attack
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Pizza, beer and kittens: negotiating cultural trauma discourses on Twitter in the wake of the 2017 Stockholm attack
2018 (Engelska)Ingår i: New Media and Society, ISSN 1461-4448, E-ISSN 1461-7315, Vol. 20, nr 11, s. 3980-3996Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this study is to analyse how social media communication can impact the formation of cultural trauma discourses in the aftermath of disruptive societal events. The article focuses on how the hashtag #openstockholm was used on Twitter for support, sharing and cooperation after the Stockholm lorry attack in 2017. Much of the content posted with this hashtag had a light-hearted tone, flouting the conventional trauma discourses of grief and sorrow in a way that was surprising, and perhaps even provocative, to some. A thematic analysis of tweets shows the different uses of the hashtag over time, as well as distinguishes two conflicting discourses that either downplayed or amplified the cultural trauma narrative. The study shows that the responses to traumatic events may depend on a culturally specific logic of collective action frames which implies the need for contextual understandings of how cultural trauma discourses are negotiated.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Sage Publications, 2018
Nyckelord
Connective action, cultural trauma, discourse, social media, terror attacks, Twitter
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-146387 (URN)10.1177/1461444818765484 (DOI)000449285600002 ()2-s2.0-85055754364 (Scopus ID)
Forskningsfinansiär
Wallenbergstiftelserna
Tillgänglig från: 2018-04-07 Skapad: 2018-04-07 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-03-24Bibliografiskt granskad
3. Continued contexts of terror: analyzing temporal patterns of hashtag co-occurrence as discursive articulations
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Continued contexts of terror: analyzing temporal patterns of hashtag co-occurrence as discursive articulations
2018 (Engelska)Ingår i: Social Media + Society, E-ISSN 2056-3051, Vol. 4, nr 4, artikel-id 2056305118813649Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

This study looks at how terror attacks are rendered discursively meaningful on social media through the concurrent use and reiteration of terror hashtags, which were created following previous incidents of terror. The article focuses on 12 terror attacks in Europe in 2015-2017 and their relating hashtags on Twitter, to see how various combinations of these were reused and co-articulated in tweets posted in relation to subsequent attacks. Through social network analysis of co-occurring hashtags in about 3 million tweets, in combination with close readings of a smaller sample, this study aims to analyze both the networks of hashtags in relation to terror attacks as well as the discursive process of hashtag co-articulation. The study shows that the patterns by which attack hashtags are reused and co-articulated depend on both temporal and contextual differences.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Sage Publications, 2018
Nyckelord
terror attacks, social media, discourse, articulation, framing
Nationell ämneskategori
Samhällsvetenskap Annan data- och informationsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-153537 (URN)10.1177/2056305118813649 (DOI)000451326700001 ()2-s2.0-85087926879 (Scopus ID)
Forskningsfinansiär
Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs minnesfond
Tillgänglig från: 2018-11-22 Skapad: 2018-11-22 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-03-24Bibliografiskt granskad
4. Divided attention: Exploring socio-technical factors in responses to terror on Twitter
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Divided attention: Exploring socio-technical factors in responses to terror on Twitter
(Engelska)Manuskript (preprint) (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Nyckelord
Social media, Terrorist attacks, Attention bias, Information scarcity, Information abundance
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
Forskningsämne
sociologi; medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-169290 (URN)
Projekt
Digital aftermaths of terror: Reactions to terrorist attacks on Twitter
Forskningsfinansiär
Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs minnesfond, MAW 2012.0151
Tillgänglig från: 2020-03-31 Skapad: 2020-03-31 Senast uppdaterad: 2020-04-14

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