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Carrie A. Rentschler

Young feminists use social media in order to respond to rape culture and to hold accountable the purveyors of its practices and ways of thinking when mainstream news media, police and school authorities do not. This article analyzes how social networks identified with young feminists take shape via social media responses to sexual violence, and how those networks are organized around the conceptual framework of rape culture. Drawing on the concept of response-ability, the article analyzes how recent social media responses to rape culture evidence the affective and technocultural nature of current feminist network building and the ways this online criticism re-imagines the position of feminist witnesses to rape culture.

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Edward Kessler

The Social Media has become an important part of our (online) lives, in an incredibly short period of time. This paper will explore to what extent it contributes to fostering interfaith dialogue. Its impact depends on the people who use it - and how they use it. The Social Media challenges traditional hierarchies (including religious hierarchies) because control moves from website owners to users which means that “everyone is a publisher and everyone is a critic.“ Although the less personal nature of online communication makes it easier for information to be distorted, there are examples of good practice to promote interfaith dialogue. The Social Media can also overcome ignorant stereotypes and combat prejudice, (although it is also (ab)used to promote prejudice). In interfaith dialogue, the Social Media needs to provide a safe space for users, to facilitate trust and to help users feel a sense of connection with the 'other'. Although this can be more easily achieved in a face-to- face encounter because the 'virtual world' will only ever be virtual, the Social Media should be integrated into interfaith dialogue so that it not only contributes to positive political change but also to furthering inter- religious understanding.

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Dustin William Louie

In this article, based on research I conducted in Western Canada, I discuss the significance of the emerging influence of social media on the overrepresentation of Indigenous girls in sexually exploitative situations. In interviews I conducted with Indigenous sexual exploitation survivors and intervention staff I found that social media is being used to recruit Indigenous girls and keep them exploited in three distinct ways: targeting girls in reserve communities and luring them to the city; setting up so-called dates to keep them off the streets; and facilitating constant communication between the victim and victimizer, thus ensuring that girls are perpetually active and reachable. I respond to these by outlining educational possibilities in order to combat the exposure of these girls to predators on social media sites.

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“Stumbling Upon Feminism”

Teenage Girls’ Forays into Digital and School-Based Feminisms

Crystal Kim and Jessica Ringrose

In this article, we discuss a case study of a feminist society in a girls’ secondary school in England, highlighting how teenage girls use social media to combat sexism. Considering the recent growth of feminist societies in UK schools, there is still a lack of research documenting how young feminists use social media’s feminist content and connections. Addressing this gap, we draw on interviews and social media analyses to examine how girls navigate feminisms online and in school. Despite their multifaceted use of social media, the girls in our research undervalued digital feminism as valid or valued, in large part because of dismissive teacher and peer responses. We conclude by suggesting that schools need to cultivate social media as a legitimate pedagogical space by developing informed adult support for youth engagement with social justice-oriented online content.

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Giovanni Navarria

The technological revolution that began with the Arpanet in the late Sixties has changed the world we live in. The Internet and social media have improved our lives considerably, but the changes came in with a high-price tag attached: our freedom. We now live in a world in which technology has exponentially expanded the power of the State to keep tabs on its citizens (within and across borders). If we continue on this path, democracy as we know it is doomed. Yet the future is not as grey as it might look at first sight. The ubiquity of social media and smartphones and the increasing relevance of the Internet in everyday life have also drastically changed the impact-power of citizens in technologically advanced societies. Understanding these changes is to understand which shape democracy will take in the future.

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Miley, What’s Good?

Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, Instagram Reproductions, and Viral Memetic Violence

Aria S. Halliday

Images on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter that are the most entertaining are loaded with memetic power because their value is based on cultural attitudes that already constitute our lives in the everyday. Focusing on memes appropriating the artwork from Nicki Minaj’s single, Anaconda, I explore how popular memetic culture is fueled by Black women’s creativity yet positions Black women’s bodies as the fodder for potent viral images on social media platforms and in everyday experiences; Black girlhoods, at this level of representation and in lived experiences, are rarely awarded the distinction from womanhood that many other girlhoods enjoy. Thus, Black feminist discourses of desire which speak to both girlhoods and womanhoods inform my argument that social media has become a site of reproduction and consumption—a technological auction block where Black women’s bodies, aesthetics, and experiences are vilified for viral enjoyment.

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Death on repeat

Violence, viral images and questioning the rule of law in Brazilian favelas

Jason B. Scott

In the past decade, images of fatal police shootings shared on social media have inspired protests against militarised policing policies and re-defined the ways marginalised communities seek justice. This article theorises the repetition of violent images and discusses how social media has become an important tool for localising popular critiques of the law. I provide an ethnographic account of a police shooting in a Brazilian favela (shantytown). I am particularly interested in how residents of the favela interpret law and justice in relationship to contemporaneous movements such as Black Lives Matter. Reflecting Walter Benjamin’s concept of mechanical reproduction, this case study demonstrates an ‘aura’ that is shaped by the social and legal context in which a violent image is produced, consumed and aggregated. This case study suggests the possibility for research examining the ways inclusionary social media platforms are increasingly co-opted by oppressive political institutions.

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Terms of Silence

Weaknesses in Corporate and Law Enforcement Responses to Cyberviolence against Girls

Suzanne Dunn, Julie S. Lalonde and Jane Bailey

Girls do not need merely to be empowered with technological know-how in order to engage fully online. While girls use digital and social media for self-expression, activism, and identity experimentation, their engagement is too often interfered with by online gender policing and by being attacked for daring to challenge conventional stereotypes. Reshaping the online environment in ways that address this discrimination meaningfully requires a multifaceted approach that includes transparent, responsive, and accessible redress through both social media platforms and, where necessary, law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, these institutions all too often fail to respond adequately when girls report acts of cyberviolence committed against them. This article illustrates this failure by drawing on lessons learned from coauthor Julie S. Lalonde’s experiences in advocating online for gender equality. It also raises the troubling concern of law enforcement deference to corporate terms of service rather than to Canadian law.

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Digital Natives

Making Sense of the Digital Political Landscape and Assessing the Potential for Mobilization versus Apathy

Patrick Readshaw

Those aged 18 to 25 are frequently cited in political rhetoric and scientific literature as one of the most apathetic demographics in Britain. They simultaneously constitute the prime users of new digital media. The assumption of apathy is based on traditional conceptions of political engagement—attendance at rallies, membership in political parties, and voting—that don’t consider a phenomenon like political consumerism, which is estimated to account for 22 to 44 percent of political engagement in the United States and Europe. This article explores youth involvement in politics by drawing on a series of interpretative phenomenological analysis interviews regarding social media usage and its suitability as a medium for facilitating political and civic mobilization. It argues that social media enables people to obtain political knowledge and generate feelings of solidarity, and illustrates how internal belief systems act as predictors of trust in the existing political structure and the media systems surrounding it.

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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.