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Theorising the “security influencer”: speaking security, terror and muslims on social media during the Manchester bombings

Downing, Joseph and Dron, Richard (2020) Theorising the “security influencer”: speaking security, terror and muslims on social media during the Manchester bombings. New Media & Society. ISSN 1461-4448

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1461444820971786

Abstract

Security studies literature neglects social media’s potential for lay actors to become influential within security debates. This article develops the concept of ‘security influencers’, bringing literature from marketing into the security debate to understand how social media enables individuals to ‘speak’ and contest security and how lay actors exert influence. Methodologically, this article applies a multi-methods approach to 27,367 tweets to identify and analyse the top four most influential actors in 48 hours following the 2017 bombings by keywords ‘Manchester’ and ‘Muslims’. This article builds a typology of security influencers nuancing definitions of the passive ‘security broadcaster’ and the active ‘security engager’, both of which emerge from obscurity or influence within non-security domains. Furthermore, a dichotomy emerges within influential messages and contestation; messages discussing Muslims in banal terms as diverse individuals register high levels of agreement, whereas those discussing Islam as a world religion receive more hostility and contestation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/nms
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2020 15:45
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 06:35
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/107015

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