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Memeing and speaking vernacular security on social media: YouTube and Twitter resistance to an ISIS Islamist terror threat to Marseille, France

Downing, Joseph (2021) Memeing and speaking vernacular security on social media: YouTube and Twitter resistance to an ISIS Islamist terror threat to Marseille, France. Journal of Global Security Studies, 6 (2). ISSN 2057-3189

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jogss/ogz081

Abstract

This article intervenes in critical terrorism studies and conceptions of vernacular security to argue that social media has become an important arena for everyday constructions of terrorism and (in)security. Rich, multimodal, social media data provide important means to understand digital forms of everyday constructions of (in)security that discuss, subvert, and parody dominant terrorism and security narratives in the wake of the rise of the Islamic State group. Methodologically, this argument is pursued through a thematic analysis of a YouTube video authored by a French Muslim that defies an ISIS threat to his hometown of Marseille and the resulting, multiauthored Twitter response. By tracking this vernacular discussion of (in)security across social media platforms, this article demonstrates that, while some intertextuality exists, the crossing of platforms changes both the form and substance of security discussions. Within this, symbols, features and properties of the local urban environment of Marseille are the dominant symbolic resources that are utilized, reconstructed, and deployed to structure and subvert everyday discussions of (in)security. The dominant theme that crosses both YouTube and Twitter is that users perceive the French security services as impotent, and that resistance to ISIS can paradoxically only come from local vectors of insecurity, crime, and violence linked to the ongoing proliferation of organized crime in Marseille. This demonstrates not only that the ability of political satire to enable the powerless to resist the powerful applies in the context of (in)security but also that it enables the powerless to resist "powerful"coercive nonstate actors.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/jogss
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 06 May 2021 23:14
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 04:13
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/110378

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