Digital contention in a divided society

Digital contention in a divided society

By Paul Reilly

How are platforms such as Facebook and Twitter used by citizens to frame contentious parades and protests in 'post-conflict' Northern Ireland? What do these contentious episodes tell us about the potential of information and communication technologies to promote positive intergroup contact in the deeply divided society?

These issues are addressed in what is the first in-depth qualitative exploration of how social media were used during the union flag protests (December 2012-March 2013) and the Ardoyne parade disputes (July 2014 and 2015). The book focuses on the extent to which affective publics, mobilised and connected via expressions of solidarity on social media, appear to escalate or de-escalate sectarian tensions caused by these hybrid media events. It also explores whether citizen activity on these online platforms has the potential to contribute to peacebuilding in Northern Ireland.


1 Social media, contentious politics, and social movements
2 Too many cyber warriors? The case of Loyalist Peaceful Protest Updater
3 "You can't eat a flag" Northern Ireland Twitter responds to the flag protests
4 PSNIRA vs. peaceful protesters? YouTube, sousveillance and the policing of the flag protests
5 Parody of Esteem? LAD and the rise of 'silly citizenship'
6 Twitter, affective publics and public demonstrations: The 2014 and 2015 Ardoyne parade disputes
Appendix 1 Content Analysis of newspaper coverage of flag protests
Appendix 2 Content analysis of newspaper coverage of Ardoyne parade dispute

Paul Reilly is a Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society at the University of Sheffield, and a member of IAMCR.

The above text is from the publisher’s description of the book:

Title: Digital contention in a divided society
Author: Paul Reilly
Published: 2021
Pages: 264
Publisher: Manchester University Press

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