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The Aesthetics of Victimhood: Digitally Enabled Framing in the Case of Police Killings in the United States
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Cultural Matters)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Cultural Matters)
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present paper addresses an understudied aspect of digitally enabled activism in the case of police shootings in the United States, namely the relationship between aesthetics and political framing. To this end, we analyze how groups of digitally enabled activists articulate their political claims in relation to the stigmatized identities of the victims by analyzing the ways in which actors represent police killings on different online platforms. Paying special attention to the affordances of technology and the aesthetic possibilities they provide, we find that the criminalized status of the identity of the victims plays an important role in framing strategies for collective action. We describe political meaning/identity articulation as being resolved in three levels of abstraction from the story of individual victims, basing our classification on the classical semiotic triad of index, icon and symbol. Our analysis describes a mode of representation of large scale killings as well as a growing process of aestheticization of online protest. This paper contributes, therefore, to the understanding of digitally enabled activism against police violence in the USA while also shedding new light on the role ofaesthetics and technological affordances in the framing of political claims in mediated contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
framing, social movements, digitally enabled social movements, police violence
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-333367OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-333367DiVA: diva2:1156317
Conference
Alternative Futures and Popular Protest number 21, March 10-12, Manchester, England
Available from: 2017-11-12 Created: 2017-11-12 Last updated: 2017-11-13Bibliographically approved

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Langa, María FlorenciaCreswell, Philip K.

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