chapter  5
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Talking about Magna Carta on Twitter
WithDavid Farrell-Banks

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References to Magna Carta appeared frequently in British political discourse in the lead up to the 2016 UK-EU membership referendum. This chapter draws on a sample of over 10,000 tweets to reflect upon the role of social media as a space for political discourse. The meanings projected within the discursive use of Magna Carta, particularly by right-wing populist groups, are interrogated, and the potential for Twitter to be considered as a space with dialogic potential is discussed.

This content is juxtaposed with the analysis of elements of the ‘official’ representation of Magna Carta at two heritage sites – the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede, and Salisbury Cathedral. The chapter encourages heritage professionals to give attention to political dialogue on Twitter as a means of encouraging a more reflective presentation of the past at such sites.