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Fracking, Elsipogtog First Nation, and the police: Examining the social media discourse around a police-repressed environmental justice movement

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A research presentation on the role of visual social media in amplifying protest against shale gas development in Canada. Presented at the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS) annual conference. Madison, Wisconsin, October 2015.

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Fracking, Elsipogtog First Nation, and the police: Examining the social media discourse around a police-repressed environmental justice movement

  1. 1. Fracking, Elsipogtog First Nation, and the police: Examining the social media discourse around a police-repressed environmental justice movement Molly  J.  Simis,  M.S.     Ph.D.  Candidate     Jill  Hopke,  Ph.D.     Assistant  Professor  
  2. 2. Environmental movements and new media Police     repression   Climate     change   Contested  energy   technologies  
  3. 3. Elsipogtog…
  4. 4. …and Fracking…          Source:  ProPublica.  (n.d.).              What  is  Hydraulic  Fracturing?      
  5. 5. …and the RCMP.
  6. 6. What are the features of wide-reaching tweets compared to tweets that get little to no attention?
  7. 7. •  Computer-­‐assisted  content  analysis  of  English   language  tweets  with  DiscoverText  machine   learning  funcEon   •  Narrowed  down  fracking-­‐related  tweets  with   hashtag  keywords:  #cdnpoli    #rcmp  #Elsipogtog   #INM  #IdleNoMore  #nbpoli  #FirstNaDon  #FN   •  De-­‐duplicated  the  data,  which  groups  all   verbaEm  duplicates   Methods
  8. 8. Methods •  Grouped  the  data  into  three  categories  based   on  #  of  re-­‐tweets   – Hi:  20+  retweets  (n=49)   – Low:  1-­‐19  retweets  (n=762)   – Single  items:  no  retweets  (n  =  2872)   •  Coded  each  group  into  subsets  of  posts               with  images  images  and  posts  without  images  
  9. 9. Methods •  Coded  text  +  images  for     – Movement  response/presence   •  Peaceful  protest   •  DisrupEve  protest   •  Solidarity   – Police  acDon/presence   •  Use  of  force,  surveillance  and  monitoring   •  Equipment  and  weapons   •  Coded  images  for   – Police-­‐protester  interacDon  (present  or  absent)  
  10. 10. Results
  11. 11. 0.0%   10.0%   20.0%   30.0%   40.0%   50.0%   60.0%   70.0%   Movement response/presence within Elsipogtog-themed posts Hi  #  of  RT;     Image   Hi  #  of  RT;     No  image   Low  #  of  RT;     Image   Low  #  of  RT;     No  image   Single  items;     Image   Single  items;     No  image   No  movement  response   Peaceful  protest   DisrupEve  protest   Solidarity  
  12. 12. 0.0%   10.0%   20.0%   30.0%   40.0%   50.0%   60.0%   70.0%   80.0%   Police  acDon/presence  within  Elsipogtog-­‐themed  posts   Hi  #  of  RT;     Image   Hi  #  of  RT;     No  image   Low  #  of  RT;     Image   Low  #  of  RT;     No  image   Single  items;   Image   Single  items;   No  image   No  police  acEon   Use  of  force,   surveillance/ monitoring   Police  equipment   and  weapons   Police action/presence within Elsipogtog-themed posts
  13. 13. Police-protester interaction 0.0%   10.0%   20.0%   30.0%   40.0%   50.0%   60.0%   70.0%   80.0%   No  police-­‐protester  interacEon   Police-­‐protester  interacEon   Hi  #  of  RT;     Image   Low  #  of  RT;     Image   Single  items;   Image  
  14. 14. Conclusion •  Peaceful  protests  are  a  dominant  theme  of   highly  re-­‐tweeted  posts.   •  Solidarity  tends  to  be  textually  described   more  oaen  than  visually  depicted.     •  Police  use  of  force/surveillance  is  visually   depicted  more  oaen  than  textually  described.     Repression  galvanizes  tweeEng      
  15. 15. Next steps •  Code  for  user  type   •  Trace  images   through  networks    
  16. 16. Questions? Thank you! Molly  J.  Simis,  M.S.     Ph.D.  Candidate     simis@wisc.edu   Jill  Hopke,  Ph.D.     Assistant  Professor   jhopke@depaul.edu  

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