Video of PSA MPG ‘in conversation’ now available

Digital Contention in a Divided Society, MUP 2021.

Last week I spoke to Dr Emily Harmer (University of Liverpool) about my new book, Digital contention in a divided society – Social media, parades and protests in Northern Ireland, as part of the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group Seminar Series.

The video can be watched below:

Video of PSA MPG event

Many thanks to Emily and James Dennis (University of Portsmouth) for organising the event- I really enjoyed it!

New essay on social media and intergroup contact in divided societies

“Hands Across the Divide” sculpture in Derry, from Wikimedia Commons

I have a new essay entitled ‘Peace on Facebook? Online Platforms in post-conflict societies‘ out today on Human: Putting the Social into Science. In this piece I evaluate the role of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in facilitating intergroup contact in divided societies such as Northern Ireland. I also draw on some of the findings from my new book Digital Contention in a Divided Society, which was published last week.

Manchester University Press will be holding a launch event for my book Digital Contention in a Divided Society on 29 January (1-2pm). I will be in conversation with John Coster (Doc Media Centre) during an online Webinar, with time allocated for Q+A at the end. 

A description of the event can be found below:

Join Paul Reilly (University of Sheffield) and host, John Coster (Doc Media Centre), to celebrate the launch of Paul’s new book, Digital contention in a divided society: Social media, parades and protests in Northern Ireland. ‘Much that is written about the politics of Northern Ireland is based on highly selective accounts of the available evidence. Reilly eschews this approach, subjecting the political use of social media to sustained critique in this empirically rich study. In so doing, he makes a very valuable contribution to scholarship.’ Phil Ramsey, Lecturer in the School of Communication and Media, Ulster University About the book: How are platforms such as Facebook and Twitter used by citizens to frame contentious parades and protests in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland? What do these contentious episodes tell us about the potential of information and communication technologies to promote positive intergroup contact in the deeply divided society? These issues are addressed in what is the first in-depth qualitative exploration of how social media were used during the union flag protests (December 2012-March 2013) and the Ardoyne parade disputes (July 2014 and 2015). The book focuses on the extent to which affective publics, mobilised and connected via expressions of solidarity on social media, appear to escalate or de-escalate sectarian tensions caused by these hybrid media events. It also explores whether citizen activity on these online platforms has the potential to contribute to peacebuilding in Northern Ireland.

You can register for the event here

Digital Contention can be purchased in hardback and eBook here

Reviews:

‘Much that is written about the politics of Northern Ireland is based on highly selective accounts of the available evidence. Reilly eschews this approach, subjecting the political use of social media to sustained critique in this empirically rich study. In so doing, he makes a very valuable contribution to scholarship.’
Phil Ramsey, Lecturer in the School of Communication and Media, Ulster University

‘A timely historical account cataloguing a rich collection of the author’s empirical research, the book evinces continuity in polarisation among Northern Irish communities online. Showing how the use of social media adds further complexity to community relations, for instance through the pointed concept of ‘silly citizenship’, Reilly meticulously dispels earlier techno-optimism while further contextualising the algorithmic power of social media.’
Dan Mercea, Reader in Media and Communication, City, University of London

‘While the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s ‘troubles’ are over, the divisions have left lasting scars and in the twenty-first century the competing interpretations of the conflict and the country’s constitutional status remain entrenched. Reilly’s work explores the contribution of digital citizenship to peacebuilding within this complex context. The comprehensive and engaging analysis explores how a society beset with deeply held prejudices form online communities, share content and can be misled by misinformation so contributing to a range of wider debates on the role of digital media. As with many studies Reilly identifies positives, such as Citizen Assemblies and accounts that scrutinize decision making, as well as the acts of ‘silly citizenship’ which satires sectarianism and can exacerbate divide. Reilly’s work is an important contribution to our understanding of digital politics, how platforms can be a force for good or ill depending on the motivations and behaviour of users, and how forms of digital citizenship can support or disrupt societal healing processes. Reilly’s study is a must read for scholars and students seeking to understand the complex roles which digital technologies play in socio-political life as well as for those seeking to understand the dynamics of present day Northern Ireland and how it might face the challenges of a post-Brexit world.’
Darren Lilleker, Professor of Political Communication, Bournemouth University

Article on photojournalism published on LSE American Politics and Policy blog

New-blog-image-test-7

Delighted to publish a blogpost with addressing the recent police attacks on photojournalists during the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. Based on a study of Greek photojournalists conducted with Anastasia Veneti and Darren Lilleker (Bournemouth University), we assess the implications of these attacks for press freedom in the US. The post can be read here

New article published on social media and sousveillance

I have a new article in the journal First Monday out today. Entitled ‘PSNIRA vs. peaceful protesters? YouTube, ‘sousveillance’ and the policing of the union flag protests,’ it explores how Youtubers responded to footage of alleged police brutality during the union flag protests in Northern Ireland between December 2012 and March 2013. 

Drawing on a qualitative analysis of 1,586 comments posted under 36 ‘sousveillance’ videos, I argue that responses to these videos were shaped by competing narratives on the legitimacy of police actions during the flag protests. This footage focussed attention on the anti-social behaviour of the protesters rather than the alleged police brutality referred to in the video descriptions. The paper concludes by considering the problematic nature of exploring imagined sousveillance, as was the case here, through the collection and analysis of ‘easy data’ scraped from online platforms such as YouTube. The paper can be accessed here

Publication: Politics, Protest, Emotion book of blogs

I am pleased to announce the publication of Politics, Protest, Emotion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. A Book of Blogs, which I co-edited with Anastasia Veneti (Bournemouth University) and Dimitrinka Atanasova (Queen Mary, University of London).

An excerpt from the press release can be found below.

The origins of this book of blogs can be traced back to “Politics, Emotion and Protest,” an interdisciplinary workshop co-hosted by Bournemouth University’s Centre for Politics and Media Research and Civic Media Hub, the Department of Media & Communication at University of Leicester, the Media and Politics Group of the Political Studies Association, and the Protest Camps Research Network. This event, held on 9-10 July 2015, brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines in order to discuss the intersections between power, politics and emotions.

The publication features contributions from 37 academics from across the globe. It presents a range of disciplinary perspectives on politics and emotions, including the fields of computer science, (digital) media studies, journalism studies and political science. Drawing on a range of case studies such as the 2016 CND march in London, the movement against TTIP-TAFTA and health activism such as “I Want PrEP Now”, the contributors provide new insight into the affective turn in protest and social movements.

Dr Paul Reilly said: “ The purpose of this volume is not to offer conclusions or recommendations for those readers interested in the affective turn in protest and social movements. Rather, it is hoped that these blogposts provoke debate and reflection in relation to how everyday and extraordinary political actions have become infused with emotion. We would like to thank all of our authors for contributing to this conversation on Politics, Protest and Emotions.”

The book of blogs is divided into five main thematic categories: Politics, emotion and identity performance; Emotion and the news media; Women, politics, activism; Digital media and the politics of protest; Health, emotion, activism.

This open access publication can be accessed online here or downloaded as a pdf. If you wish to obtain an EPUB version (suitable for Nooks, Kindles and other e-readers) then please email p.j.reilly@sheffield.ac.uk

For more information on Politics, Protest, Emotion, please contact one of the editors:

Paul Reilly p.j.reilly@sheffield.ac.uk

Anastasia Veneti anastasia_veneti@yahoo.com

Dimitrinka Atanasova db.atanasova@gmail.com

Politics, Emotions and Protest Workshop- Bournemouth, 9-10 July 2015

Dr Anna Feigenbaum (Bournemouth University) and I are organising a workshop focusing on Politics, Emotions and Protest, to be held at Bournemouth University on the 9th and 10th July.

The full description of the event is below:

Politics, Emotions and Protest- A Participatory Workshop

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Cardiff University

Professor Barry Richards, Bournemouth University

From Hong Kong to Kiev, from Ferguson to Madrid, we are living in a time of global protests. Images of smoke filled streets and cities up in flames dart around the world, populating news reports and twitter feeds. Fear, hope, camaraderie, terror, relief, trauma. These protest movements teem with emotion. Their effects are contagious, their indignation infectious. They bring with them new cooperative political formations, as well as new manifestations of fascism and repression. As researchers wanting to contextually understand these events, many of us find ourselves inflamed and overwhelmed by proliferating political commentary, trying to sort through the sensory overload.

What tools, approaches and methods do we need to understand political uprisings today? How can we make sense of them in relation to broader struggles for social change? Can we engage in research on uprisings and protests without falling into blind celebration or armchair critique? What lies between the big data predictions of future protest events and the past histories of unrest that remain unwritten or misunderstood?

Critical interventions in Social Movement Studies around emotion (Jaspers 1998, Flam and King 2005, Goodwin, Jaspers and Poletta 2009), along with the ‘affective turn’ of the early 2000s (Massumi 2002, Sedgwick 2003, Breenan 2004, Ahmed 2004, Gregg 2006) have offered a rich conceptual vocabulary for thinking and talking about the intersections of politics and emotion. Building on these fields of inquiry, this workshop seeks to bring people together to address the challenges and possibilities facing academic engagement with the emotion and politics of protest and social movements.

We seek participants working through these challenges who are interested in engaging in collaborative, interdisciplinary dialogues.

This workshop will include insights from keynote speakers and case study presentations, with dedicated time for collaboration building and a MeCCSA Social Movement Network Seaside Social to end off the event.

This event is supported by the Bournemouth University Politics & Media Group, the University of Leicester Media and Democracy Research Group in the Department of Media and Communication, the MeCCSA Social Movement Network and the Protest Camps Research Network.

For more information on the workshop please see here

Please register here no later than the 19 June.