The dialectical praxis of organizing for social change in digital hashtag movements: #MeToo and the Kavanaugh hearings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

In 2018, Christine Ford came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Ford was embraced by the online hashtag movement, #MeToo. In response, #HimToo was employed by groups who rejected Ford’s claims and argued that it was Kavanaugh who was the real victim. In this chapter, we examined publicly posted #MeToo and #HimToo tweets in the days leading up to the congressional testimony of Kavanaugh and Ford. A qualitative thematic analysis of the tweets from the perspectives of organizing for social change and dialectics produced four themes: personal experience, identification, calls to action, and discursive appropriation. We drew conclusions highlighting the emergence of social media as a central component of social movements to mobilize participants, disseminate messages and generate digitally based activism and protest. Future research needs to consider the ways that these discourses might be applicable to contemporary hybrid and digital social movement formations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Communication and Development
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Pages322-339
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781789906356
ISBN (Print)9781789906349
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

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