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The digital ethnography of law

Studying online hate speech online and offline

Richard Ashby Wilson

The ethnography of social media is still a developing field, and the anthropology of online legal topics is even more incipient. This article charts a digital ethnography of the regulation of hate speech online by examining the infrastructure of social media platforms, the content of speech acts (including coded speech) and their offline effects. These three levels can be analysed using an adapted version of Erving Goffman’s heuristic model of backstage, onstage and offstage presentations of the self in everyday life. A digital ethnography of law implies both a qualitative and quantitative study of offline effects of online speech, including harmful consequences that are direct as well as indirect. On this basis, the article presents findings that, while it is difficult to identify direct effects of online hate speech on violence, show indirect effects including the silencing of dissent and an undermining of trust and cooperation in wider society.

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Repetitions of Desire

Queering the One Direction Fangirl

Hannah McCann and Clare Southerton

the idea that shipping involving RPS/RPF is necessarily ethically dubious. Drawing on a digital ethnography via Twitter, we suggest attention to specific online practices and narrative constructions within the fandom reveals that Larries undertake

Open access

Anthropology from Home

Advice on Digital Ethnography for the Pandemic Times

Magdalena Góralska

need to introduce to get back to work. With digital ethnography being temporarily the only way around pandemic restrictions, this article offers basic advice on what to be aware of when beginning the adventure with online fieldwork. Building on the

Open access

Chiara Cocco and Aleida Bertran

of ‘the field’, posing new questions about the relationship between researcher and interlocutors. With little alternative, even researchers who rarely engaged with digital ethnography have embraced it despite the persistence of both social barriers

Open access

Jason Bartholomew Scott

of failure, sometimes expressed as a momentary loss of purpose and intent, became an essential condition for how I understood both twenty-first-century activist movements and the potentials for digital ethnography. Social media can amplify a plurality

Open access

Physically Distant – Socially Intimate

Reflecting on Public Performances of Resistance in a Pandemic Situation

Marion Hamm


In the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic situation, physical interaction and public performances became difficult, while use of digital media for public and private purposes was extended and intensified. This affected citizens’ right of assembly and led to new forms of collective sociality. This article analyses how social intimacy was re-arranged during lockdown through a thick description of mediated performances circulating on Italy's Day of Liberation from Nazi fascism. It examines how a politicised commemoration of resistance echoed fears and desires relating to the virus and enabled the production of subjectivities in a transnational techno-social environment. Combining Lauren Berlant's concept of intimate publics with theories of media, social movements, mediation and national identity, it offers an analytical framework detailing three layers of social intimacy: spatial/corporeal materiality, biography and mediation.

Open access

Staying Tuned

Connections beyond ‘the Field’

Geoffrey Hughes and Anna-Maria Walter

beyond ‘digital ethnography’ that can capture a novel yet increasingly pervasive human experience of ‘staying tuned’. What this forum looks into is not so much the methodological question of how to make sense of online connectivity, but rather how this

Open access

Reinforcing Authentic Intimacy?

Relationships between an Escort Boy and His Male Clients in the Spectre of COVID-19 in France

Kostia Lennes

. This article is based on interviews with Valentin, 1 an escort boy, and Félix, one of his regular clients, as well as digital ethnography, which involved observations of a male escort website and daily conversations and interactions on Facebook between

Open access

Fieldwork through the Zoomiverse

Sensing Uganda in a Time of Immobility

Richard Vokes and Gertrude Atukunda

), Virtual Ethnography ( New York : Sage ). 10.4135/9780857020277 Hjorth , L. , H. Horst , A. Galloway and G. Bell , (eds) ( 2019 ), The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography ( London : Routledge ). Hodgson , D. , and S

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Guest Editorial

Queering Girlhood

Barbara Jane Brickman

digital ethnography project with Larries on Twitter, McCann and Southerton present a direct account of queer space-making on social media and through other fan activities, transforming the accepted heteronormative notions of the fangirl, who in this