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  • Comparative Analysis of the French Society's Reaction to 7/01 and 13/11 Terrorist Attacks: Evidence from the Twitter Audience

Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Valeriia Fedotova
Comparative Analysis of the French Society's Reaction to 7/01 and 13/11 Terrorist Attacks: Evidence from the Twitter Audience
Political Science
(Bachelor’s programme)
10
2016
Media plays an important role in shaping public opinion about events including terrorist acts by providing information. At the same time, media can be used by terrorists as a means for manipulation of the public opinion. Moreover, nowadays the Internet, especially social media, gains popularity as a source of information because it allows to obtain information instantly and regardless of location. So, the Internet can contribute to the rapid spread of any ideas and views and to the formation of a certain public opinion. In this research two cases will be studied - a series of terrorist attacks on 7-9/01, the key of which was the attack on the «Charlie Hebdo» at 7/01/15, and a series of terrorist attacks at 13/11/15 in Paris. These two attacks can be considered as similar events, however, despite this, the responses of the French society to these terrorist attacks were different: events changed attitudes towards Muslims in different ways. So, the main goal of this research is to determine the features of the discussion of the terrorist attacks at 7/01 and 13/11 among French Twitter users. Using Latent Dirichlet Allocation we outlined main topics which were discussed by people before and after the attacks and determined key terms which were used by people to express their thoughts. Main result of the study is that similar events have led to a different public reaction because of the degree of context politicization of discussion and distinction of "other" in the discussion. Thus, the attack 13/11 discussed under politicized reality and accompanied by the distinction of "other", so it led to the articulation of the ideas of ethnic nationalism, and subsequently led to a deterioration in the perception of Muslims as an immigrant. In turn, in the discussion of the terrorist attack 7/01 "other" was not clearly marked, and political discourse has not been articulated. This is why the perception of Muslims as immigrants after the event has not worsened.

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