Twitter analysis through data mining, text analysis, and visualization, coupled with the application of actor-network-theory, reveals a coalition of heterogenous religious affiliations around grief and fascination. While religious violence has always existed, the prevalence of social media has led to an increase in the magnitude of discussions around the topic. This paper examines the different reactions on Twitter to violence targeting three religious communities: the 2015 Charleston Church shooting, the 2018 Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, and the 2019 Christchurch Mosque shootings. The attacks were all perpetrated by white nationalists with firearms. By analyzing large Twitter datasets in response to the attacks, we were able to render visible associations among actors across religions communities, national identities, and political persuasions. What this project revealed is that if we apply actor-network-theory and data visualization to look at networks created by human/non-human (text, computer, phone, meme, tweet, retweet, hashtag) actors, we can see that knowledge, empathy, and fascination drive communication around mass violence against religious communities.
Senbel, S., Seigel, C., & Bryan, E. (2022). Religious violence and twitter: Networks of knowledge, empathy and fascination. Religions, 13(3), 245. Doi.org/10.3390/rel13030245
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