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Social media, security and identity in the digital age

Downing, Joseph (2023) Social media, security and identity in the digital age. In: New Security Challenges. New Security Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 209-238.

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-3-031-20734-1_7


This chapter examines social media and critical security studies in tandem with examining questions about identity. Identity was highlighted as a key area that required attention in the post-Cold War area as identity-based conflicts emerged onto the political scene. However, since then identity concerns have mushroomed and social media has become a key area where they are discussed, contested and subvert, such as with the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. This chapter examines these questions through the prism of two specifically security-related examples. The first example examines the #JeSuisAhmed hashtag and specifically how within it French national identity and its relationship to Muslims is contested on social media. As such, Ahmed dying as a responder to the Charlie Hebdo shooting was covered on social media as an example of Muslims laying down their lives for the values of the French republic, and that Muslims died in the service of France as a defender of the free speech values. The second example examines that security debates become internationalised on social media, interconnected with discussions of Muslim identity and its broader place in the global context. The two examples, Twitter responses to the Grenfell tower fire and the Manchester Arena bombing, also demonstrate that at any given time, users can become “security elites” within particular debates, but in fleeting and ephemeral ways.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2023 11:06
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 19:15

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