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Assessing Meaning Construction on Social Media: A Case of Normalizing Militarism

With an estimated 3.8 billion Internet users worldwide, new media in the form of Web 2.0 applications and its user-generated content increasingly rival traditional media as the means of circulating and gathering information. Central to the power and importance of social media is its visuality and the speed with which content can circulate. However, research and policy often focus on the politics of social media in terms of revolutionary change, as a tool of radicalization, or as a resource for disseminating information and the challenges this poses to states.

As a part of the Militarization 2.0 project, this Policy Brief examines the social media content that celebrates militarism as an important aspect of everyday social media usage and the related meaning construction overlooked by policymakers. The research results indicate that while there is an abundance of militaristic content, much of this content reaches targeted audiences.


Dr Susan T. Jackson was an Associate Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.
Dr Jutta Joachim is a senior lecturer of international relations at Radboud University, Netherlands.
Dr Nick Robinson is an associate professor in politics at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
Dr Andrea Schneiker is a professor of political science at the University of Siegen, Germany.