#AustraliaOnFire: Hashtag Activism and Collective Affect in the Black Summer Fires

Article


Leimbach, Tania and Palmer, Jane. 2022. "#AustraliaOnFire: Hashtag Activism and Collective Affect in the Black Summer Fires." Journal of Australian Studies. 46 (4), pp. 496-511. https://doi.org/10.1080/14443058.2022.2121744
Article Title

#AustraliaOnFire: Hashtag Activism and Collective Affect in
the Black Summer Fires

ERA Journal ID34876
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsLeimbach, Tania (Author) and Palmer, Jane (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Australian Studies
Journal Citation46 (4), pp. 496-511
Number of Pages16
Year2022
PublisherRoutledge
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0314-769X
1444-3058
1835-6419
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14443058.2022.2121744
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14443058.2022.2121744
Abstract

The 2019–2020 'Black Summer' bushfire season woke Australian and global populations to the harsh realities of a changing climate. The impact was profound, and it remains ongoing. Social media cast a spotlight on—and propelled into a mediatised, virtual space—the suffering of humans and other species. In particular, the iconic and severely threatened koala was a highly visible non-human species directly harmed alongside thousands of species in the order of individual billions. This article explores what comes to matter in the realms of affect, care and action, as observed in the public sphere via social media and the use of hashtags to interpret and performatively frame events. The catastrophic bushfires prompted a heightened multispecies awareness in the greater population. This article argues that the disaster produced a transversal event through social media communications, one that de-centred the human, allowing for novel connections between the human and non-human, prompting new questions and creating new responsibilities.

KeywordsAustralian bushfires; digital ethnography; climate change; affective publics; multispecies relations
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020410103. Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation
450304. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental knowledges
410102. Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
470102. Communication technology and digital media studies
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Technology Sydney
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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