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The Digital and Spatial Affects of the 2017 Manchester Bombing

Research project This project examines the digital and spatial responses to the 22 May 2017 Manchester bombing and their overlaps.

This project examines the digital and spatial responses to the 22 May 2017 Manchester bombing and their overlaps. It aims to understand the affective practices of community building and commemoration that follow terrorist attacks and their political impact. It does this by analysing the manifestation of such practices on social media and in public space during the bombing’s aftermath and first anniversary.

Project overview

Project period:

2018-02-01 2018-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Sociology

Project description

On the 22 May 2017, 22 people were killed and 64 seriously injured following a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert. In response, several thousand people gathered at Manchester's Albert Square declaring 'I♥MCR' and Prime Minister Theresa May deployed soldiers onto streets across the UK after raising the terror threat to 'critical'.

This project examines the digital and spatial responses to this attack. It addresses practices of commemoration, community-building and solidarity, both in response to the events, and as they emerge on the first anniversary on 22 May 2018. Drawing on work carried out on the ten-year anniversary of the 2005 London bombings and on the 'digital atmospheres' of other commemorative events this project will address how responses to terrorist attacks are formulated, posted and shared on social media and how this connects to other types of commemorative activity in public space. This will generate insights on how practices of commemoration and community building are changing in the digital era and what can be learned politically from these digital materials in combination with spatial and discursive analyses.