Maedhbh Nic Lochlainn | Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie
The language of networks has become a common conceptual framework for describing contemporary, digitally‐engaged social movements. In this paper I address the subject of digital contention from a geographical perspective, using network analysis and qualitative data to explore the networked digital contention of anti‐water charges community groups in Dublin, Ireland. Focusing thematically on network fragmentation, I use places and practices as frames to understand this situated case study and make two main points. First, social media networks are constituted through choices by individuals about how to articulate place relationally to fulfil specific political and social objectives. Second, contextual and historical components of specific places can provide an explanatory mechanism for understanding points of concentration and fragmentation in the network. Network analysis is useful for visualising and interpreting digital contention but augmenting network analysis with qualitative methods of data collection allows for deeper understanding of the geographical nuances of digital contention.