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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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Geane Alzamora is an adjunct professor in the Social Communication Department at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She investigates new approaches in theory of communication based on semiotics and actor-network theory, specifically related to topics such as transmedia and social mobilization in the interface between the streets and the screens. Her research related to the topic of this paper is supported by Capes, CNPq, and Fapemig. E-mail:

Carlos d’Andréa is a professor in the Social Communication Postgraduate Program at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Based in Actor-Network Theory and Complex Adaptive Systems theory, he currently researches the emergence of mediatized controversies in intermedia connections between television and online social networks. He is also interested in new methods (such as data scraping and visualizations) for studying digital media. His research is supported by CNPq and Fapemig. E-mail:

Anna Antonakis-Nashif is a Ph.D. student at the Freie University, Berlin. She holds a master’s degree in political science and has acquired regional expertise on Tunisia via fieldwork visits since 2009. Her research revolves around mobilization dynamics at the interface of on- and offline and includes intersectional theories and theories of (counter)publics. In her Ph.D., she analyzes the ← 279 | 280 → creation and political impact of feminist counterpublic spheres in Tunisia after the uprisings in 2011.

Brett Bergie is a graduate of the M.A. professional communication program at Royal Roads University and works in communications and strategic...

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