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Seminar | The reveal of the Real in hashtag politics


The Media School Seminar Series.

Start Date

13 Jun 2019 4:00 pm

End Date

13 Jun 2019 5:00 pm


Room 206, The Media School, Salamanca Square

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Rosemary Overell

This paper tackles contemporary mediated politics through a discussion of the hashtag as an interstice of the Real. Media Studies regularly pivots off discussions of how ‘reality’ is (re)presented and circulates in popular culture. Here, I consider the limitations of media studies’ analyses that work in this mode. I focus on the ascent of the politicised hashtag (‘#’) on social media sites (e.g. Twitter and Instagram). The hashtag denotes a word or phrase which, through sheer repetition becomes trending: recent examples include #BlackLivesMatter; #NotAllMen and #MeToo. In Media Studies, as well as in popular journalism, these linguistic signifiers are either revered as evidence of a burgeoning social justice movement or reviled as ‘not enough’ to bring about structural social change. Using Lacan’s Ecrits, I suggest that we can read the metaphorical function of #politics as indicative of the Real.

Guest Speaker | Rosemary Overell

Rosemary Overell is lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

She considers how gendered subjectivities are co-constituted by and through mediation, drawing particularly on Lacanian psychoanalysis to explore a variety of mediated sites. In particular, she considers the intersections between affect and signification and how these produce gender. She is the author Affective Intensities in Extreme Music Scenes (Palgrave 2014) and editor of Orienting Feminisms (with Catherine Dale, Palgrave 2018). Rosemary is also a regular contributor to un magazine. She tweets @muzaken.