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#ThisIsACoup: the emergence of an anti-austerity hashtag across Europe’s twittersphere

Hänska, Max ORCID: 0000-0001-9188-534X and Bauchowitz, Stefan (2018) #ThisIsACoup: the emergence of an anti-austerity hashtag across Europe’s twittersphere. In: Basu, Laura, Schifferes, Steve and Knowles, Sophie, (eds.) The media and austerity: comparative perspectives. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, pp. 248-261. ISBN 9781138897311

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Social media allow disparate groups to spontaneously coordinate in support of a common cause. At the height of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis in 2015, as Greece was negotiating its third bailout and was about to be saddled with new austerity measures, the hashtag #ThisIsACoup emerged and quickly went viral on Twitter. How did it emerge and diffuse across Europe’s twittersphere – and with what impact on wider public discourse? This chapter uses data collected through Twitter’s streaming API and a qualitative content analysis to examine these questions. #ThisIsACoup first emerged in Spain. Within hours, people across Europe had coalesced around the hashtag, which succinctly expressed the shared sentiment that Greece was being treated unfairly. Moreover, the impact of #ThisIsACoup on public discourse reached well beyond social media, with more than 700 newspaper stories worldwide mentioning the hashtag. But people did more than adopt a common hashtag. They engaged with other Twitter users across national boundaries, calling into being a transnational, pan-European communication space. Social media provided a potent means of connecting people from across Europe to voice their collective objection to controversial austerity policies. Through the hashtag, Twitter acted as a ‘stitching technology’, activating disparate, far-flung groups around a shared grievance.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Routledge
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Date Deposited: 31 May 2018 09:45
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:28

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