Archives For Elizabeth Losh

In this Special Issue, our multinational contributors share their perspective on epistemic claims and the moral implications of how one should present them via mass media.  Though the individual responses vary, they fall under two headings: 1) New Media and Social Justice, and 2) Mass Media, Popular Science, and Bad Reporting.

The PDFs of each article give specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to: Special Issue 1: “Normative Functionalism and the Pittsburgh School” and Special Issue 2: “On the Future Direction of Social Epistemology.”

I. New Media and Social Justice

Considering Online News Comments: Are We Really So Irrational and Hate Filled?
Maureen Linker, University of Michigan-Dearborn, USA

Hashtag Feminism and Twitter Activism in India
Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego, USA

II. Mass Media, Popular Science, and Bad Reporting

Science and Scientism in Popular Science Writing
Jeroen de Ridder, VU University Amsterdamm NL

From Science in the Papers to Science in the News
Carlos Elías Pérez, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, ES and Jesús Zamora Bonilla, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, ES

Free Will as an Illusion: Ethical and Epistemological Consequences of an Alleged Revolutionary Truth
Mario De Caro, Università Roma Tre and Tufts University and Andrea Lavazza, Centro Universitario Internazionale, Arezzo, Italy

Author Information: Elizabeth Losh, University of California,

Losh, Elizabeth. “Hashtag Feminism and Twitter Activism in India.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 12 (2014): 10-22.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:


Image credit: Ognian Mladenov, via flickr


The use of Twitter by activists protesting violence against women, particularly sexual violence, is complicated by the fact that microblogging services use hashtags to identify relevant content to their audiences.  Activist communities congregate around these particular keywords, and archives that map the history and morphology of controversies in public discourse online depend on shared terminology in the metadata.  It is noteworthy that trending topics are particularly likely to reference proper names.  After a prominent fatal sexual attack in India, the mobilization of activists through online organizing progressed through several stages, and some users privileged #delhirapecase or delhigangrape – which protected the private identity of the victim – while others made her into a public martyr by using her proper #jyotisinghpandey.  Many also used a series of pseudonyms, such as #damini or #amanat.  This study focuses on the informational labor of two specific activist groups in India — Breakthrough and Blank Noise — and how careful hashtag use reflected their policy decisions and deliberative activities about metadata management, which is becoming an increasingly important aspect of transformative social movements that bring citizens out into the streets.

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