Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies (BA)
C. Richard King
The success of any collective political action relies heavily on public opinion. The leaders of these actions use framing techniques to optimize the reach of their message and convince broader portions of the population to sympathize with their cause. Today, most political conversations and debates about pressing social issues takes on social media platforms such as Twitter, which could be conceptualized as a virtual public sphere, where different individuals meet and discuss political events and issues as equally empowered citizens and active members of society. However, in practice, some individuals remain unable to participate in these discourses and conversations. Philip Wasserburg examines the case of the 2018 riot at Lee Correctional Facility in South Carolina and the nationwide Prison Strike—the largest in the history of the United States—it triggered. Here, Wasserburg argues that due to legal restrictions on prisoner’s right to freedom of speech, the voices and stories heard by the public on social media were restricted to those from a few Twitter accounts run by inmates, which were responsible for convincing a broadly punitively inclined public that injustices within the prison system do in fact exist. Through a critical analysis of the framing techniques of these social media accounts leading and organizing the Strike, a fuller picture emerges that reveals the limitations, successes, and shortfalls of this particular form of collective political action on Twitter.
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Wasserburg, Philip, "Collective Political Action and Activism on Twitter: The Merits and Limitations of the Framing Tactics and Strategies of the 2018 National Prison Strike" (2019). Cultural Studies Capstone Papers. 68.