Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Benford, Robert

Abstract

Using content analysis and in-depth interviews, this research undertakes a case study of the online progressive blogosphere as a social movement. Previous research into social movement applications of the Internet and computer-mediated communication (CMC) focuses on "street" movement application of Internet resources. These studies find that though Internet applications are a boon to movements, they offer nothing novel, instead allowing movements to perform normal tasks at a faster rate. More recently, scholars have begun to examine movements with stronger roots in the online world, or "e-movements." Earl and Schussman (2003, 2004) assert that not only do unique e-movements exist, but that they have important substantial differences from street movements. This research examines the progressive blogosphere (PB) as one of these e-movements. I examine the movement activity of the PB through the lens of framing and New Social Movements (NSM) in order to gain insight to where e-movements fit within our current knowledge structures. In the end, I find that though decentralized and informal, the PB movement utilizes existing framing tasks and processes in order to mobilize passive readers into active users. After analyzing the PB movements' identity construction, mobilization techniques, goals, and leadership structures, I propose the existence of a "user-based model" for e-movements.

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