#auspol: The hashtag as community, event, and material object for engaging with Australian politics
Sauter, Theresa & Bruns, Axel (2015) #auspol: The hashtag as community, event, and material object for engaging with Australian politics. In Rambukkana, Nathan (Ed.) Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks. Peter Lang, New York, pp. 47-60.
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Critical, loud, highly discursive and polarised; the #auspol hashtag represents a space, an event and a network for politically involved individuals to engage in and with Australian politics and speak to, at and about a variety of involved stakeholders. Contributors declare, debate and often berate each other’s opinions about current Australian politics. The hashtag itself is an important material object and engagement event involved within this performance of political participation.
As a long-standing institution in the Twittersphere, and one studied by the authors and their colleagues since its early beginnings (Bruns and Burgess, 2011; Bruns and Stieglitz, 2012; 2013), the #auspol hashtag provides a potent case study through which to explore the discursive and affective dimensions of a hashtag public. This chapter that engages both empirically and theoretically with the use of this particular hashtag on Twitter to provide a qualitatively illustrated case in point for thinking about the long-term use of political hashtags as engagement events.
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