Disaffiliation and belonging : Twitter and its agonistic publics

Higgins, Michael and Smith, Angela (2014) Disaffiliation and belonging : Twitter and its agonistic publics. Sociologia e Politiche Sociali, 17 (2). pp. 77-89. ISSN 1972-5116

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Abstract

This article looks at forms of political and public engagement to emerge in Web 2.0. Focusing on the platform Twitter, the article looks at both antagonistic and agonistic types of political engagement. It discusses Twitter’s capacity for direct contact with main political party leaders as part of an antagonistic public discourse, geared towards creative expressions of individualised disaffiliation. However, in interventions around @EverydaySexism, the article finds collectivising practices more in keeping with an agonistic public discourse based upon involvement and the tactical use of irony and humour. While showing that the platform provides for new forms of antagonistic engagement with political elites, the article therefore offers support for the view that Web 2.0 gives rise to new and shifting formations of non-institutionally-aligned political public.