• Le 03 mars 2023 de 14:00 à 16:00
    Campus Tertre
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  • Vendredi 3 mars 2023 - Salle du conseil et sur zoom après inscription.
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Retrouvez Katrin HERMS dans le cadre de la 11ème séance du Séminaire "Identités et processus de patrimonialisation"


Understanding political discourse as a kind of cultural heritage that has traditionally divided the "left" and "right" camps in France, we saw a reconfiguration of this familiar cleavage since Emmanuel Macron took power as president in 2017, being elected based on his campaign with the slogan “neither left, nor right, but in progress” [transl.: “ni droite, ni gauche…. mais en marche”]. In return, mobilizing claims against the political management of the corona pandemic have been jointly articulated by street activists with various political and epistemic convictions which created a puzzling image of apparently affiliated actors from left to right, protesting together against the political measures to curb the sanitary crisis. Common slogans referred to fundamental and personal rights (peace, freedom, self-determination), others were borrowed from international feminist pro-choice activists (my body, my choice), but also recalled earlier political and social movements. Aside appropriated and re-contextualized “old claims” which gained a new meaning during the pandemic, we also observed that certain symbols emerged as new protest resources, especially online, such as the hashtag #BasLesMasques (transl.: “put down the masks”). In the run-up to the 2022 presidential election, government critics also organized around the hashtag #tousantimacron on Twitter (Chavalarias 2022). Internet communication was indeed an important resource for the Corona protests in France and beyond. Monika Eigmüller and Monika Verbalyte concluded based on their analysis of Eurobarometer data that a strong use of social media correlated with weak support for Corona measures (2021).

From this starting point, and for better understanding the French speaking Twitter debate around #Covid19, we developed a mixed-methods approach to study digital corpora at the crossroads between computational social science und pragmatist sociology, drawing on digital discourse analysis (for exemplary case studies in that new field of research see for example the collection by Camilla Vásquez, 2022). Our study traces how news content on Corona related issues was received and interpreted by French speaking Twitter users during 2020. More precisely, we examined collective framing in what we call “quote trees”: a so far understudied, cascade like conversational phenomenon that occurs when a message is shared and commented on multiple times, similar to the broken telephone game. Thus, Twitter commentary is conceptualized as a tool of semantic framing. Thanks to data pre-processing by the computational social science team at Centre Marc Bloch Berlin, we could visualize and assess the digital corpus for a manual hand coding of approximately 1500 tweets. In cooperation with Camille Roth and Jonathan St-Onge, we combined this approach with a structural network analysis of around 10 000 French speaking Twitter users, which enabled us to compare claims with the Twitter users’ estimated political orientation. We analyzed different samples of punctual controversies, in the form of quote trees, triggered by media profiles along 2020. In this way, we could trace the evolution of political narratives and protest resources in reaction to corona news in the first pandemic year. First published results can be considered in Roth et al. (2022). Our study intends to discuss interdisciplinary perspectives for digital discourse analysis using BigData. We also wish to contribute to the discussion on polarization in digital public spaces.



Chavalarias, D. (2022). Toxic data. Paris : Flammarion.

Eigmüller, M., & Verbalyte, M. (2021). Die transformierte Öffentlichkeit. Die Rolle von Social Media in der Corona-Pandemie in den EU-Mitgliedstaaten. Konfliktdynamik, 10(4), 295–309. https://doi.org/10.5771/2193-0147-2021-4-295

Roth, C., St-Onge, J., & Herms, K. (2022). Quoting is not Citing: Disentangling Affiliation and Interaction on Twitter. In R. M. Benito, C. Cherifi, H. Cherifi, E. Moro, L. M. Rocha, & M. Sales-Pardo (Eds.), Complex Networks & Their Applications X (pp. 705–717). Springer International Publishing.

. London ; New York ; Oxford ; New Delhi ; Sydney : Bloomsbury Academic.Research methods for digital discourse analysisVásquez, C. (2022).



Katrin Herms (Computational Social Science Team, CNRS/Centre Marc Bloch) pursues an interdisciplinary PhD project in sociology at EHESS in Paris, linking social network analysis of polarized Internet communities with face-to-face interviews. Under the supervision of Daniel Cefaï at Cems in Paris and Camille Roth at Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin, her main interests are discourse analysis and social dynamics emerging around political issues in France and Germany. Following her practical experiences in journalism, and holding a trinational Master’s degree in Crossborder Communication and Cooperation Studies from the Universities of Saarbrücken, Metz and Luxemburg, her mixed-methods approach also bridges media studies and communication models.

A noter : La conférence sera en anglais, mais la discussion se déroulera en Français/Anglais/Allemand.

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