Artivist reception on Twitter: art, politics and social media

Frank Weij, Pauwke Berkers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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There is a growing body of literature around the concept of artivism, which refers to artists who use social engagement and activism in their artistic practices. Artists, however, are not necessarily perceived as political actors and are heard for their political activism only through a legitimacy cross-over from artistic field to political field. In this paper, therefore, we theorize that audience attention has become an important resource for political legitimacy and study how a set of artivists are received on social media. To this end we have analyzed over two million tweets and argue that content on social media platforms such as Twitter provides insight into how people talk about social issues, such as politics and activism. We employ the methods of topic modeling and semantic network analysis to study how Twitter users engage with artivists and find that very few Twitter users are interested in the societal issues that artivists raise. Instead, the majority of tweets in our data involves attention to state prosecution, media-centric artistic recognition and consumerism. These findings indicate that even though some artivists succeed in bringing their activist art to Twitter audiences, political activism that originates from artists is rarely a topic of discussion among Twitter users in terms of its activist content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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