Exploring geospatial characteristics of hashtag activism in Ferguson, Missouri: An application of social disorganization theory

Amanda M. Bunting, Janet Stamatel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, a series of social protests on the streets and social media were ignited. The current research draws upon social disorganization theory to explore the geospatial patterns of Twitter activity related to the Michael Brown case across the state of Missouri. Geotagged Twitter data and census tract level American Community Survey data were used to determine if neighborhoods with greater social disadvantage were more represented in political discourse regarding police brutality. Results indicated wealthier neighborhoods with a higher percentage of black residents were more likely to engage in Twitter activity related to the Michael Brown case. A higher volume of activity was found, however, in more disadvantaged neighborhoods with little effect as to the percentage of black residents. Within a social disorganization framework, findings support the potential for future research to examine the idea that marginalized neighborhoods use social media as an outlet for their concerns about criminal justice practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalGeoforum
Volume104
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author was supported by National Institute of Drug Abuse Grant T32DA035200 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Concentrated disadvantage
  • Ferguson
  • Social disorganization
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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