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Distributed for University of Cincinnati Press

Social Media, Social Justice and the Political Economy of Online Networks

1st Edition

While social network analyses often demonstrate the usefulness of social media networks to affective publics and otherwise marginalized social justice groups, this book explores the domination and manipulation of social networks by more powerful political groups. Jeffrey Layne Blevins and James Lee look at the ways in which social media conversations about race turn politically charged, and in many cases, ugly. Studies show that social media is an important venue for news and political information, while focusing national attention on racially involved issues. Perhaps less understood, however, is the effective quality of this discourse, and its connection to popular politics, especially when Twitter trolls and social media mobs go on the attack.

Taking on prominent case studies from the past few years, including the Ferguson protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2016 presidential election, and the rise of fake news, this volume presents data visualization sets alongside careful scholarly analysis. The resulting volume provides new insight into social media, legacy news, and social justice.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgements – Jeffrey Layne Blevins3 

Acknowledgements – James Lee4 

Part I: Social Justice Discourse on Social Media and Legacy News5 

Chapter 1: Social Media and Social Justice in the Digital Age7 

Chapter 2: Social Media Power in #Ferguson [Data Visualization Set 1]14 

Chapter 3: Affected and Effective: @BlackLivesMatterCincy31 

Part II: Political Discourse on Social Media43 

Chapter 4: Twitter Trolls and Political Discourse45 

Chapter 5: Election 2016 [Data Visualization Set 2]51 

Chapter 6: Fake News, Bots and Doublespeak68 

Part III: Social Justice and the Politics of Truth on Social Media74 

Chapter 7: The Political Economy of Social Media Networks75 

Chapter 8: Grassroots from the Top Down [Data Visualization Set 3]96 

Chapter 9: Social Justice and Epistemic Struggle in the Marketplace of Ideas97 


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