A case study on the narrative character of hashtag activism on Twitter in 2016
Purpose: The aim of this study is to provide an understanding of the character of the communication conducted through the use of the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack on Twitter.
Theory: Postcolonial theory will offer a contextual perspective on the issue of discriminatory hosts on Airbnb. An account of narrative agency in hashtag activism will be helpful in understanding the characteristics of hashtag activism. The Narrative Paradigm will provide assistance in understanding how an argument lacking in rationality can be conducted and accepted on the basis of good reason. Lastly, the theory of critical consciousness will be used to attain an understanding of how consciousness-raising–through its empowering of groups– can be a form of activism.
Method: The chosen method is a case study, qualitatively thematising the data and presenting it in the form of separate, co-constructed narrative themes and reactions.
Material: The data consists of 217 tweets collected from the time period 1 April 2016 to 31 August 2016.
Results: The character of the communication conducted through the usage of the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack on Twitter is narrative in form and predominantly based on good reason rather than rationality. There are indicators of authors being aware of their group identity and conscious about the group’s inferiority to other groups in society. The communication is invitational and characterized by solidarity.