The #OCCUPY network on Twitter and the challenges to social movements theory and research

The aim of this research is to shed a light on the actual composition of the well-known Occupy movement, particularly taking into account the relation between semantic and geographic dimensions. Exploiting a data set collected on October 2011 (and possibly other recent data that are to be retrieved), the semantic network of the movement, as emerging on Twitter, will be investigated and compared with the geographical provenience of related information. The empirical question that is to be answered has to do with the degree of fragmentation in meanings involved in the narration of this movement, and the relation to its geographical structure. The theoretical hypothesis underlying the analysis is the existence of a need for the re-conceptualization of the notion of collective identity with respect to contentious politics, due to the adaptation of the system of dissent to the new communicative environment. While a rigorous formulation of this theoretical issue is a subsequent task of following works, this shorter-range project aims at finding an empirical evidence supporting this claim.