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Parsing Perceptions of Place: Locative and Textual Representations of Place Émilie-Gamelin on Twitter

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Parsing Perceptions of Place: Locative and Textual Representations of Place Émilie-Gamelin on Twitter

Shaw, Emory ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4099-7365 (2017) Parsing Perceptions of Place: Locative and Textual Representations of Place Émilie-Gamelin on Twitter. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

We increasingly engage in geographies mediated by social media, which is changing how we experience and produce places. This raises questions about how ‘place’ is conceived and received in networked virtual spaces. Place has remained difficult to grasp in both geography and communications studies that utilize social media data. To attend to this, I first develop a conceptual framework that bridges the phenomenology of spatiality with the communication of place. I then present a case study of Place Émilie-Gamelin in Montreal: a plaza located atop the city’s busiest transit hub. Despite its geographic centrality, it is a liminal space appropriated by marginalized groups and contentious political movements. Since 2015, it has been subject to a city-led revitalization program with intentions of attracting party-goers and tourists. Using a communications geography framework, I collected a year’s worth of tweets, first, employing a filter to capture georeferenced tweets in and around the study site, and second, using the site’s toponyms to retrieve tweets through textual queries. To understand these representations, I coded them by relevance, theme and communicative function. Results showed a place evolving in scope, name and meaning, reflecting diverging flows and uses. I found that there were more textual connotations of the study site than there were geotweets, and that the former were more diverse in their representation of place. The thesis demonstrates how promotional content on Twitter should be more critically analyzed in concert with expressive and descriptive tweets and geotweets, and that this implies spatial ontologies and data collection methods that consider a place on social media as a discursive construction. This is especially so since Twitter has become increasingly ‘platial’ through internal changes and its entwinement with other social media platforms: changes which require consideration in all Twitter-based spatial and textual analyses. The study provides an updated perspective on Twitter’s use in the spatial humanities, GIScience and geography and contributes to those interested in applying more nuanced cartographies of places.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Shaw, Emory
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:31 December 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Caquard, Sébastien
Keywords:social media, place, urban studies, critical cartography, communication studies, GIScience, representation, twitter, speech act theory, montreal, content analysis, place émilie-gamelin, humanistic geography, phenomenology, text
ID Code:983426
Deposited By: Emory Shaw
Deposited On:11 Jun 2018 03:54
Last Modified:11 Jun 2018 03:54
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