Hashtagging Hate

This project aims to develop an interdisciplinary methodology to analyse people’s attitudes to and expectations of government policies and actions in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks.

In the moments following terror attacks, citizens take to social media to share their personal responses in which they articulate ideas about national identity, immigration and race. Indeed, citizens are often much more openly critical in times of heightened emotion. The data generated by this project will expand the repertoire of resources for Australian governments as they respond to the public during these times.

Despite the embeddedness of social media in everyday social interactions, very little research has been conducted using a multimethod tool of analysis to explore public responses to terrorism expressed on social media, and how this connects with critical expectations of law. This project aims to fill that gap by drawing together scholars from law, psychology, business and linguistics to qualitatively analyse the public expression of peoples’ thoughts and feelings regarding the topics of legality, democracy and government policy.

The team

Assoc Prof Cassandra Sharp (BAL) will have overall responsibility for the project. She will undertake the bulk of content analysis.

Dr Shoshana Dreyfus (ASSH) is involved in applications of linguistic theory to a wide range of objects of study including language and power, evaluative language, and media discourse. Shoshana will lead the linguistic analysis of the data.

Kate Tubridy and Yvonne Apolo (BAL) are undertaking their PhDs in relation to contemporary issues surrounding media engagement (Yvonne on the psychology of privacy in the contemporary world, and Kate on Facebook responses to signal crimes).

Dr Roba Abbas (BAL) is an early career researcher who will provide guidance around the generation, collection and collation of social media data.

Dr Tracey Woolrych and Dr Peter Leeson (ASSH) will contribute to the analysis of the data by providing psychological coding parameters, and an added layer of complexity to the analysis of public communication of hate speech and government critique.


This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities   Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions   Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals