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

Edward Elgar Publishing
Publication Type:
Handbook of Communication and Development, 2021, pp. 322-339
Issue Date:
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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.
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