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“distributed framing” in social movements

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In the special issue on Ethnic and Racial Studies on Black Lives Matters, BGS* Jelani Ince, Clay Davis and myslef break down hashtag networks:

This paper focuses on the social media presence of Black Lives Matter (BLM). Specifically, we examine how social media users interact with BLM by using hashtags and thus modify the framing of the movement. We call this decentralized interaction with the movement “distributed framing”. Empirically, we illustrate this idea with an analysis of 66,159 tweets that mention #BlackLivesMatter in 2014, when #BlackLivesMatter becomes prominent on social media. We also tally the other hashtags that appear with #BlackLivesMatter in order to measure how online communities influence the framing of the movement. We find that #BlackLivesMatter is associated with five types of hashtags. These hashtags mention solidarity or approval of the movement, refer to police violence, mention movement tactics, mention Ferguson, or express counter-movement sentiments. The paper concludes with hypotheses about the development of movement framings that can be addressed in future research.

Check it out.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 20, 2017 at 4:25 am

ethnic and racial studies covers black lives matter

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Ethnic and Racial Studies has a special issue on Black Lives Matter. From the lead article, an analysis of counter-protest and collective identity:

Recent events related to police brutality and the evolution of #BlackLivesMatter provides an empirical case to explore the vitality of social media data for social movements and the evolution of collective identities. Social media data provide a portal into how organizing and communicating generate narratives that survive over time. We analyse 31.65 million tweets about Ferguson across four meaningful time periods: the death of Michael Brown, the non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson, the Department of Justice report on Ferguson, and the one year aftermath of Brown’s death. Our analysis shows that #BlackLivesMatter evolved in concert with protests opposing police brutality occurring on the ground. We also show how #TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) has operated as the primary counter narrative to #BlackLivesMatter. We conclude by discussing the implications our research has for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and increased political polarization following the election of Donald Trump.

From “Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown on Twitter: #BlackLivesMatter, #TCOT, and the evolution of collective identities” by Rashawn Ray, Melissa Brown, Neil Fraistat and Edward Summers.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 18, 2017 at 4:22 am

the root of things

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Written by fabiorojas

July 16, 2017 at 4:37 am

recent souciant

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Over at Souciant, run by my friend Charlie Bertsch, some articles of interest:

Check it out.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 13, 2017 at 4:17 am

free speech and the protection of minorities

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Over at The Atlantic, Musa al-Ghrabi and Jonathan Haidt argue for free speech, as a protection for minorities. They note that public schools are highly susceptible to external interference:

Here’s why this matters: In virtue of their heavy reliance on taxpayer funding and major donors, public colleges are much more receptive to calls from outside the university to punish faculty and staff for espousing controversial speech or ideas. Groups like Professor Watchlist, Campus Reform, or Campus Watch exploit this vulnerability, launching populist campaigns to get professors fired, or to prevent them from being hired, on the basis of something they said. The primary targets of these efforts end up being mostly women, people of color, and religious minorities (especially Muslims and the irreligious) when they too forcefully or bluntly condemn systems, institutions, policies, practices, and ideologies they view as corrupt, exploitative, oppressive, or otherwise intolerable.

Those most vulnerable to being fired for expressing controversial views are the ever-growing numbers of contingent faculty—who also tend to be disproportionately women and minorities. Meanwhile, the better-insulated tenured faculty tend to be white men.

In other words, public schools are influenced by politics. Women and people of color are more likely to be in public schools and they are more likely to be in positions where it easy to fire them. Think Lisa Durden (adjunct), or Steven Salaita (not yet under contract). It’s a serious argument to think about.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 11, 2017 at 4:11 am

how would you fix this journal?

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On Facebook, Daniel Laurison started this discussion. With his permission, I have reposted it:

Sociologists, how would you change/improve the journal submission & review process, if you could? I’ve recently become an editor of the British Journal of Sociology, and we are making some changes to make things more sensible, transparent, and efficient. What would make submitting & reviewing better for you? Creative ideas welcome. So far, we’re:

  •  inviting authors whose papers have been rejected elsewhere to include the reviews & how they’ve addressed them. We all know papers often get shopped around until they find a home, and it seems to us there’s no need to start from scratch as if a paper doesn’t have a history.
  • making our initial ask for reviews in 2 weeks, rather than 30 days. Most of us submit a review within 2 or so days of whatever the deadline is, so this should speed up review time quite a bit. Reviewers who need longer can have it, but the default will be 2 weeks.

My additional suggestions:

  • Desk rejects: If you just don’t want to, reject now and let people move on.
  • Save orphan papers: If a paper can’t complete review after X days (90?), then the editors will terminate the review. If a paper can’t get reviewers, let the author move on to a new journal.
  • Editorial guidance: If the reviewers are in conflict, don’t just say “do your best.” Offer guidance about which reviewer seems to offer the best criticism.

How do you think peer review should be improved? Use the comments.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 5, 2017 at 4:22 am

has trinity college gone too far?

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Last week, Trinity College announced the suspension of Johnny Williams, an associate professor of sociology. According to Inside Higher Education:

Williams last week shared an article from Medium called “Let Them Fucking Die.” The piece argues that “indifference to their well-being is the only thing that terrifies” bigots, and so people of color should “Let. Them. Fucking. Die” if they’re ever in peril. The Medium piece linked to another Fusion piece about Republican Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot earlier this month in Alexandria, Va. It says Scalise has previously opposed extending protections to LGBTQ people and reportedly once spoke at a meeting of white supremacists, while one of the black law enforcement officers who rescued him is a married lesbian.

In sharing the Medium piece, Williams used the “Let them fucking die” comment as a hashtag, and wrote that it is “past time for the racially oppressed to do what people who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put end to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system.”

That post and a similar one prompted critical reports on conservative websites suggesting Williams was advocating violence against white people.

Let’s assume that the Inside Higher Education article presents a correct summary of what Williams posted. If that is the case, then Williams was clearly saying that people should end “the vector of their destructive mythology” and “their white supremacy system.” The quote itself does not advocate violence against individuals. What about the Medium.com essay? Here’s the link. Read it yourself.

Here is what you find in the essay. The essay asks “why should oppressed people help those who oppress them?” The author concludes that the oppressed do not have an obligation to help those who oppress them even if they are in mortal danger. Thus, “Let them die.” If you think I got it wrong, please use the comments (but I will delete crazy comments).

Before you get in a tizzy, the Medium essay actually reaches the same conclusion that common law reaches on the duty to rescue (albeit from a way, way different starting point). In many cases, a person does not have a legally enforceable obligation to save another person. Perhaps the real scandal was that “Son of Baldwin” raised this point in the context of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, who was saved by police officer Crystal Griner. In that case, the Medium is on the wrong side. Office Griner has an obligation to render aid and enforce the law, even those who brag of their White nationalist bona fides.

This brings me back to Trinity College. Here’s my take. Given what we know about this case, Williams was not advocating violence against others. Even if we uncharitably interpret his words (“Let Them Die”), he’s actually advocating what is actually a well established legal right not to render aid to those in danger. Just because he posited it in an angry and racially charged way doesn’t make it any less true.

Let’s turn to a trickier issue – Trinity’s response. As a college professor, Williams is held to a higher standard than most people – especially on the issue of race and racial violence. At the very least, Professor Williams is expected to express his ideas in ways that are not inflammatory and promote intellectual progress. It is not clear whether college professors are expected to be morally superior than others (e.g., maybe he should help those in danger, including bigots). If so, this seems like a hard standard to enforce consistently. It is also not clear what obligations college professors have when it comes to private Facebook accounts.

In the end, I feel as is Professor Williams showed a real lack of judgment, not endangered anyone directly. Trinity College should show proportionality in its response. As a representative of the university, he’s got to be aware that his words carry weight and things like this can happen. He also has to be aware that his actions reflect on his institution. That doesn’t mean he should with hold critique. The opposite is true. Racism is real and it needs to be called out.

What it does mean is that when you say something, you have to be ready to defend it. And in this case, that didn’t happen. In the end, Trinity should be worried less about what the legion of Internet trolls says and more about using this as an opportunity to dig a deeper foundation for free speech, even for college professors who let their emotions get the best of them.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 4, 2017 at 4:00 am

Posted in ethics, fabio, uncategorized