Ritualisation of Crisis Communication

Crowd-enabled responses to the Stockholm terror attack on Twitter

Open access

Abstract

Digital connectivity enables ordinary people to participate in the social construction of crises. This article explores the crisis responses of common people through the prism of ritual communication in the case of the 2017 Stockholm terror attack. The ritual approach has helped to produce a nuanced understanding of the social functions of patterned and performative communication in crises and conflicts. However, the crisis communication of ordinary people has remained understudied from the viewpoint of ritualisation. Drawing from digital media ethnography and content analysis of a Twitter feed created around the hashtag #openstockholm, it is claimed that the ritualisation of crisis responses illustrates the active agency of ordinary people and contributes to ephemeral social cohesion.

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