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Hashtag Publics

The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks


Edited By Nathan Rambukkana

This collection investigates the publics of the hashtag. Taking cues from critical public sphere theory, contributors are interested in publics that break beyond the mainstream – in other publics. They are interested in the kinds of publics that do politics in a way that is rough and emergent, flawed and messy, and ones in which new forms of collective power are being forged on the fly and in the shadow of loftier mainstream spheres.
Hashtags are deictic, indexical – yet what they point to is themselves, their own dual role in ongoing discourse. Focusing on hashtags used for topics from Ferguson, Missouri, to Australian politics, from online quilting communities to labour protests, from feminist outrage to drag pop culture, this collection follows hashtag publics as they trend beyond Twitter into other spaces of social networking such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr as well as other media spaces such as television, print, and graffiti.
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Chapter Ten: More than Words: Technical Activist Actions in #CISPA


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More than Words: Technical Activist Actions in #CISPA


In recent years, Internet policy making has received an increased level of interest from publics (Breindl & Briatte, 2013; Powell, 2012). The net neutrality debate and the SOPA/PIPA bills, for example, both relate to Internet policy making, and each case has garnered a fair share of the spotlight. Understanding whether and how Internet activism can affect policy-making processes is an issue that warrants our attention. Previous studies have investigated digital activists’ communicative and technical tactics (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010); however, most studies fail to provide a workable investigation into the range of technical actions used and how those actions utilize the affordances of the Internet.

To that end, this study examines how opponents of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) bill have used the #CISPA Twitter hashtag to employ both communicative and technical actions. It situates anti-CISPA activists as operating within the context of online social movements and categorizes their tactical behaviors as technical activist actions (TAA) (Powell, 2011). Building upon the concept of TAA and previous studies on repertoires of online social movements (Costanza-Chock, 2003; Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010), this study refines and differentiates communicative from technical actions in digital activism. ← 139 | 140 →


Scholars are divergent on whether information and communication technologies (ICTs) can indeed change...

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