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Hashtag Publics

The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks

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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 Fourteen: #RaiderNation: The Digital and Material Identity and Values of a Superdiverse Fan Community

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

#RaiderNation: The Digital and Material Identity and Values of a Superdiverse Fan Community

ANTHONY SANTORO

On May 21, 2013, Charles Woodson signed a 1-year contract with the Oakland Raiders, returning to the team that drafted him, after seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Woodson had worn jersey number 24 as a Raider for his first eight seasons and wanted to do so again, but Tracy Porter, whom the Raiders had signed earlier that offseason, then had the number. The “locker room” rules that typically govern such disputes among players failed to resolve the argument; the franchise eventually informed Porter that Woodson would wear 24 (Bair, 2013).

This disagreement among teammates was widely discussed throughout the sports media community and among the Raiders’ fans, the Raider Nation. In conversations across a variety of digital media platforms linked via the #RaiderNation hashtag, tweeters assessed the situation. Some sided with Woodson, appropriating the popular post-9/11 catchphrase “never forget” and linking to photos of a play in the 2011 playoffs when Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch stiff-armed Porter to the ground during his game-clinching touchdown run (http://bit.ly/1oMO7JR). Others appraised the flap in dollars and cents: Woodson jerseys would outsell Porter jerseys, they speculated, thus it is better for Woodson to wear 24 (http://bit.ly/1opIJcv). Others, including a journalist covering the Raiders training camp, continually mentioned Woodson by his Twitter handle—@TwentyFourWines—rather than by name, highlighting the fact that Woodson...

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