Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From the Internet to the streets: Occupy Wall Street, the Internet, and activism
by Hatcher, Alexandra M., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2013, 119; 1537772
Abstract (Summary)

In September of 2011 protestors filled the streets of New York City’s Wall Street Financial District as part of the social movement known as Occupy Wall Street. Prior to their protests in the streets, Occupy Wall Street was a movement that originated and spread online through various social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and interactive webpages. The strategy of using Internet communication as a tool for activism is not new. Social movements since the 1990s have utilized the Internet.

The growing use of Web 2.0 technologies in our everyday lives is a topic that is not yet fully understood or researched by anthropologists, nor is its potential for ethnographic research fully realized. This thesis addresses both of these points by presenting a case study of how, as anthropologists, we can collect data from both the online and in-person presences of a group.

This thesis focuses on the social movement, Occupy Wall Street, because of its beginnings and continuing activity online. In-person data of the Occupy Wall Street movement were collected at Occupy movements in Flint, Michigan and New York City, New York using traditional ethnographic methods such as interviews and participant observation. Online data were collected using computer scripts (programs that automate computer tasks), that recursively downloaded websites onto my personal, locally owned hard drive. Once the online data was collected, I also used computer scripts to filter through data and locate phenomena on the websites that I had chosen to focus. By analyzing both online and in-person data I am able to gain a more holistic view and new ways of understanding social movements.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilce, James M.
Commitee: Thompson, Kerry F., Vasquez, Miquel L.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Cultural anthropology, Multimedia Communications, Political science, Web Studies
Keywords: Activism, Internet, Linguistic anthropology, Occupy Wall Street, Social movement, Web 2.0
Publication Number: 1537772
ISBN: 978-1-303-09623-5
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