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Trace publics as a qualitative critical network tool: Exploring the dark matter in the #MeToo movement

  • Barnes, Naomi
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2020
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive


The relationship between the daily practice of personal politics and digitally networked publics amplify a familiar shaping and reshaping of the social. This article expands on nascent critiques of nodocentrism as a contemporary representation of the social in new media research to begin to advance a digital methods multidisciplinary project. Trace publics as a qualitative critical network (QCN) approach considers how representations developed by big social data analysis are shaped by everyday practices. Using the #MeToo phenomenon as an analogous frame, I show how trace publics can be used as a theoretical and methodological device for deconstructing, co-constructing, and reconstructing representations in social media research. The goal of such a proposal is to encourage future critical network and data research to consider the ethical ramifications of nodocentric representations of the social and the methodological possibilities of trace publics.

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