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Social Media as an Urban Question

Venue: Online

Social media clearly reshape how people experience, communicate across and represent cities. In recent decades, they have become communication platforms mediating everything from: the localised struggles of subaltern groups, to often exclusionary suburban politics; and from social movements in the public square, to the place-branding of gentrifying neighbourhoods. Varied experiences of social distancing, during the current global pandemic, have only deepened a sense that social media matter for understanding urban life today. In short, cities are increasingly social media cities.

This event critically considered what might be at stake in conceptualising and studying social media as a specifically ‘urban question’ – as something intrinsically interconnected with urban life. It featured an opening talk by Germaine Halegoua (University of Kansas). Drawing on her recent book The Digital City, Halegoua discussed social media as bound up in everyday practices of ‘re-placeing’, through which people re-embed themselves within urban environments. The talk was followed by responses from Wendy Willems (London School of Economics) and Scott Rodgers (Birkbeck, University of London), and an open discussion involving attendees.

>>>Watch a video of the event here<<<

This event was co-sponsored by Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture and the new BISR Urban Intersections Experimental Collective.

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