Digital intifada : a discourse analysis of the Palestine solidarity groups in social media

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2016-08

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Almahmoud, Meshaal Abdullah

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This thesis investigates the discourse adopted by Palestine solidarity groups utilizing Facebook. Three pro-Palestine groups were highlighted as a case study for this thesis: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, International Solidarity Movement and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. The research questions address the methods of discourse Palestinian solidarity groups' employ, utilization of different contents and themes, level of engagement, selection of format, news resources, and impact of 2014 Gaza war. This study analyzes variations among the three groups and components influencing differentiations. The literature review highlights transformation in both individual and collective communication and social media's changing social and political structures. Research includes the usage of social media to frame social movements’ platform and social media benefits for collective action and how framing is achieved and collective identity developed. Lastly, it illuminates the trend of connective action and personalization. The discourse analysis approach was applied to investigate the set of selected Facebook posts in 2014. The results show that the three solidarity groups generally applied resource mobilization theory. Posts reporting some form of a violation contained the most correlating content. Human rights theme rose to the majority of the total number of posts. The most used contents in the posts aim for audience sympathy, responsibility and being connected, as for a shared pursuit to occur. Reporting a violation, the most used content, triggers sympathy. Responsibility is motivated by calling followers for action, which is the second most used content by all groups. Reporting news as applied to many types of top used contents, resulted in the group member's feeling connected. The total average engagement for the three groups multiplied highly during the war in Gaza, but sank considerably after termination of the war. However, the average engagement subsequent to the war remains markedly higher than pre-war levels. The patterns of posting revealed tendencies not to post only text, without attaching another format. Posts with links or photo account for a higher proportion. The majority of the three solidarity groups' news resources come from five pro-Palestinian major news websites. Yet, numerous international sources, either mainstream or independent media, were utilized as well.

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