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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 Twenty: Hashtagging #HigherEd


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Hashtagging #HigherEd


Today’s academic landscape is changing significantly and rapidly, and scholars entering academia have to overcome bigger and different hurdles—jobs are more competitive, expectations higher, the need to stand out more urgent. Scholars have begun to use the Internet as a place to build and create academic identities to supplement their CVs and as a way to showcase technology skills while establishing an online presence and identity—valuable traits in an evolving academic world. This can take many forms, including, for example: personal blogs, online journals, mainstream online outlets, a page on, or a social media presence.

In this chapter, I will cover some of the ways in which hashtags on Twitter contribute to building and maintaining academic identity, such as promoting one’s own work by using hashtags, partaking in hashtag communities, and reaping the benefits of membership in a networked community of academics. I will also discuss how Twitter hashtags are used in the classroom and how academic research has embraced social media platforms such as Twitter because of the way data can be mined. It is important to keep in mind, however, that there are possible negative effects of using social media platforms generally and hashtags specifically, such as creating echo chambers and cliques, and causing pigeonholing. ← 267 | 268 →


Twitter plays an interesting role for early-career academics or Ph.D. students making their first...

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