Tweeting terrorism : vernacular conceptions of Muslims and terror in the wake of the Manchester bombing on Twitter

Downing, J, Gerwens, S and Dron, RM ORCID: 2022, 'Tweeting terrorism : vernacular conceptions of Muslims and terror in the wake of the Manchester bombing on Twitter' , Critical Studies on Terrorism , pp. 1-28.

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (7MB) | Preview
Access Information: Published Gold Open Access


Both vernacular security studies and critical terrorism studies (CTS) offer constructivist analyses of security couched in understandings of security speak. However, neither adequately take account of the ways in which social media presents important opportunities for greater insight into how terrorism is constructed. This study analyses tweets posted after the 2017 Manchester bombing, exploring how jihadist terror attacks are constructed on social media. To do this, we combine social network analysis, as a sampling method, with discourse analysis. The study finds that Twitter provides a platform for diverse terrorism discourses to be expressed and contested. This indicates a literate lay audience within post-attack narratives, self-aware of dominant social constructions of “Muslim terrorism”. Indeed, it suggests an audience that, on Twitter, is hardly only audience but seeks to speak security itself. Insights are gleaned with respect to depicting, defending, and critiquing Muslims, constructing what it means to be a terrorist, portrayals of victimhood, and how terror events feed into broader critiques of “political correctness” and “liberal” politics. Therefore, the analysis also provides further insights into the portrayal and (self-)positioning of Muslims in the wake of a jihadist attack and nuances accounts of Muslims’ securitisation qua terror.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Journal or Publication Title: Critical Studies on Terrorism
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1753-9153
Related URLs:
Depositing User: RM Dron
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2022 15:19
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 16:51

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year