Rahel Podobsky-Stucki, Ph.D. Candidate


Royal Holloway, University of London

Country: United Kingdom (England)

Research Interests

Political Communication


Public Opinion

Political Violence

Experimental Research

Specific Areas of Interest

Social Media

Political Communication Online

Digital Trauma

Distant Witnessing



Countries of Interest


United Kingdom




My Research:

Working title: Negotiating Emotions on Social Media in the Wake of Violent Terrorism: Affective and Interpassive BehaviourCurrent research examining public reactions to violent terrorism mostly focuses on what users post online, neglecting to understand why the content is posted. The phenomenon of online expression in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack, which ranges from sending prayers and solidarity to the victims or voicing shock, disbelief and anger, is often theorised as a coping mechanism.My project builds on existing research around online reactions to terrorism in terms of affective responses, adding value by applying Robert Pfaller’s theory of Interpassivity and through the mixed-method, holistic approach. Viewing the phenomenon through the lens of Interpassivity, the delegation of an action or emotion onto an object, I argue that this behaviour can also be extended to digital objects such as a tweet, Facebook or Instagram post.To identify trends in coping processes immediately after a terror attack, and whether the individual’s social media participation yields the desired result for sharing online content in the first place, this exploratory research is conducted through a combination of user surveys, in depth interviews, and social media diaries.The research provides an original contribution to our understanding of emotion, identity and communication in international relations about a phenomenon – public responses to terror attacks – of urgent political significance.