FireAnt Launch Event

We will be running a launch event and workshop for a new software tool that we have created called FireAnt. The event and workshop will be held from 13:00 to 17:00 on Monday 22nd February 2016 here at Lancaster University.

FireAnt was created by Laurence Anthony as part of the 2015 ESRC-funded CASS-affiliated DOOM project on social media analysis. FireAnt is a free and easy-to-use tool designed to help corpus linguists and social scientists analyze Twitter and other social network data without the need for programming or database management skills. The following features of the tool will be explored in this workshop:

  • import different formats of data (e.g. Twitter data in JSON format, Reddit data in CSV format, etc.)
  • search that data and its associated metadata in a variety of ways (e.g., retrieve all tweets containing #blacklivesmatter sent in December 2015)
  • export the results to other formats including a plain text file for “standard” corpus analysis, an Excel/CSV file for statistical analysis, a timeline chart, and a network graph

We will be providing lunch at the start of the event and all materials for the workshop (including the software and help guide) on a USB drive. The schedule for the day can be found below.


Time Agenda
1315-1415 PDR Room: Lunch
1415-1430 Introduction, log on, etc.
1430-1530 FireAnt basics
1530-1545 Refuel: Coffee break
1545-1645 FireAnt advanced
1645-1700 Q&As, requests, bouquets, encores

Please note that places are extremely limited and must be booked in advance. If you would like to attend, please email Claire Hardaker ( in the first instance.

Discourses of Online Misogyny

Indexing reporting and conversations about rape in online social media: India after the 2012 Delhi gang rape


New partners: CASS, Lancaster University and Fields of View, India (Left to right: Onkar Hoysala, Fields of View; Mark McGlashan, CASS; Sruthi Krishnan, Fields of View)

The reporting of incidents of rape of women by (typically groups of) men in India appear to be on the rise. A key incident leading to an increased number of reports occurred in Delhi in December 2012 where a woman and a male friend were kidnapped by a group of six men (including a male legal minor) driving what appeared to be an average passenger bus.

Once on board, the male victim was beaten unconscious and gagged by the attackers who then proceeded to violently rape the female victim which included using what was thought to be a rusted car wheel jack handle. So severe were the injuries this caused to her internal organs that she died only days later in a specialist organ transplant hospital in Singapore.

The attack occurred on December 16th; she passed away on December 29th.

All five adult attackers received a death sentence (one died as a result of injuries sustained from beatings by prison inmates) and the child minor received a three-year custodial sentence.

The attack was reported on internationally and led to a wave of protests throughout India which were instrumental in bringing about legal reform with relation to rape and some social changes with respect to securing ‘safe spaces’ for women, including women-only buses. Since the incident, Delhi has become known as the ‘rape capital’ of India and reported incidents are rising. The latest figures show that official reports of rape and sexual assault have risen across India from 16,373 cases in 2002 to 24,206 in 2011 (an increase of 67.6%).

Although an increased journalistic focus on the issue has led to a greater scrutiny of legal practices and public awareness of rape in India, there remain some significant issues. For instance, marital rape is not a criminal offence and the treatment of rape by India’s politicians is of particular concern, with several top officials making troubling and controversial public statements damaging any belief that the Indian government is taking what appear to be endemic cases of rape and sexual assault seriously. As recently as this month, rape has been described as ‘sometimes right, sometimes wrong’ by cabinet minister of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Babulal Gaur. Another BJP minister, Ramsevak Paikra, has suggested that incidents such as rapes and sexual assaults, rather than being deliberate, “happen accidentally”.

In the wake of these incidents, this research aims to examine a number of important and practical issues in relation to rape in India, including:

  • Legal understandings of acts of rape and sexual assault
  • Social attitudes and understandings in relation to rape and sexual assault
  • Media discourses in relation to rape and sexual assaultS

CASS partnering with Fields of View, India

In order to investigate the social impact of increased reporting about rape in India since the Delhi gang rape incident, as well as the social influence of controversial statements from institutionally influential individuals, CASS are teaming up Fields of View based in India. Fields of view are a research outfit aimed at studying complex social phenomena (e.g. city planning, infrastructure development) and developing intuitive ways to collaborate and engage with the public.

The project will take twitter data and chart the changes over time regarding conversations and reporting of rape in India. The collaborative effort will implement analytical methods developed at CASS to analyse the data which will be interpreted into visual and interactive digital outputs by Fields of View.