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Are Some Lives More Grievable Than Others? : Social media practices of mourning and solidarity in the aftermath of the Beirut and Paris attacks

Tóth, Krisztina Judit LU (2017) MKVM13 20171
Media and Communication Studies
Abstract
The thesis sets out to investigate how collective mourning on social media is perceived by online audiences and what motivates their participation in it. It is centered around examining the aftermath of the Beirut and Paris attacks in 2015 and how mourning and solidarity was constructed online in their aftermath. The closeness in time of the two attacks illustrates the differences between how the locality of the events influence the media reactions afterwards. While an outpour of solidarity on social media platforms for Paris was observed, including a French flag filter introduced by Facebook, the attacks in Beirut invoked considerably less reactions. This difference triggered a debate on social media platforms and news media as well... (More)
The thesis sets out to investigate how collective mourning on social media is perceived by online audiences and what motivates their participation in it. It is centered around examining the aftermath of the Beirut and Paris attacks in 2015 and how mourning and solidarity was constructed online in their aftermath. The closeness in time of the two attacks illustrates the differences between how the locality of the events influence the media reactions afterwards. While an outpour of solidarity on social media platforms for Paris was observed, including a French flag filter introduced by Facebook, the attacks in Beirut invoked considerably less reactions. This difference triggered a debate on social media platforms and news media as well regarding possible double standards on the grievability of human lives.
To shed light on how social media practices of solidarity and mourning can be understood in moral and political terms, nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with active social media users. The method was chosen to gain deeper understanding of the phenomenon from the point of view of both participants and observers. Moreover, social media platforms’ responsibility in facilitating certain digital collective practices in public mourning are also scrutinized.
The main findings of the research show that cultural proximity and physical closeness are the main motivations for showing solidarity and mourning towards a tragedy on social media. However, the results also indicate that social media users acknowledge and are critical towards the Western dominance of the media sphere and aim towards a more cosmopolitan outlook. Pointing out the issue of the imbalance of solidarity such as in the case of Beirut and Paris provides the potential to facilitate a discussion on how to balance inequalities in the media sphere. (Less)
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author
Tóth, Krisztina Judit LU
supervisor
organization
course
MKVM13 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
social media, collective mourning, solidarity, grief, French flag filter, Facebook, Beirut attacks, Paris attacks
language
English
id
8917170
date added to LUP
2017-06-20 13:27:34
date last changed
2017-06-20 13:27:34
@misc{8917170,
  abstract     = {The thesis sets out to investigate how collective mourning on social media is perceived by online audiences and what motivates their participation in it. It is centered around examining the aftermath of the Beirut and Paris attacks in 2015 and how mourning and solidarity was constructed online in their aftermath. The closeness in time of the two attacks illustrates the differences between how the locality of the events influence the media reactions afterwards. While an outpour of solidarity on social media platforms for Paris was observed, including a French flag filter introduced by Facebook, the attacks in Beirut invoked considerably less reactions. This difference triggered a debate on social media platforms and news media as well regarding possible double standards on the grievability of human lives.
To shed light on how social media practices of solidarity and mourning can be understood in moral and political terms, nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with active social media users. The method was chosen to gain deeper understanding of the phenomenon from the point of view of both participants and observers. Moreover, social media platforms’ responsibility in facilitating certain digital collective practices in public mourning are also scrutinized.
The main findings of the research show that cultural proximity and physical closeness are the main motivations for showing solidarity and mourning towards a tragedy on social media. However, the results also indicate that social media users acknowledge and are critical towards the Western dominance of the media sphere and aim towards a more cosmopolitan outlook. Pointing out the issue of the imbalance of solidarity such as in the case of Beirut and Paris provides the potential to facilitate a discussion on how to balance inequalities in the media sphere.},
  author       = {Tóth, Krisztina Judit},
  keyword      = {social media,collective mourning,solidarity,grief,French flag filter,Facebook,Beirut attacks,Paris attacks},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Are Some Lives More Grievable Than Others? : Social media practices of mourning and solidarity in the aftermath of the Beirut and Paris attacks},
  year         = {2017},
}