Fighting for e/quality: Comparative Ethnographies of New Student Movements

Purpose: With the help of the it developer we seek to accompany our ethnographic findings with data from online archives and social media platforms where student activists have been and are currently engaged. Among other, we wish to study the archive of Twitter for relevant hashtags to understand patterns in trends, their geopolitical importance and interconnections across national and institutional settings.

Support Type: Feasibility

Description: In recent years, a growing number of students globally have strongly criticised their universities for re-producing problematic and discriminating hierarchies of knowledge and people. In different ways, they have mobilised to make higher education a more socially just space for all students, e.g by using digital media and platforms to develop and co-produce knowledge, self-educate organise and mobilise. This has opened up new spaces for debates on the quality of public higher education towards questions of equality, decolonisation and marginalised ways of knowing. Based on comparative ethnographic studies at public universities in the USA, the U.K., South Africa and Denmark, this research project aims to investigate the role and meaning of students’ claims and actions for a more socially just public university across different national and institutional contexts. This also involves digital ethnography where we analyse online posts and platforms, online meetings and media debates of relevant news outlets. With the help of the IT developer, we explore Twitter for specific hashtags to understand their relationship to each other, retweets, clusters of words and key actors. Based on the support from the IT developer, we aim to analyse and visualise the overall historical relation and growth between clusters of important keywords and hashtags across different geopolitical sites.

Support period: Autumn 2020

Project Team:


Gritt B. Nielsen, Associate Professor, Danish School of Education – Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup


Gabriella Muasya, Ph.D. student, Danish School of Education – Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup


Maya Acharya, Ph.D. student, Danish School of Education – Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup


Lærke Cecilie Anbert, Ph.D. student, Danish School of Education – Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup