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Date of Award
Dissertation-ISU Access Only
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of English
Angela M. Haas
Elise Verzosa Hurley
As digital modes of distribution proliferate, so do the options for participating in advocacy. Given that advocacy increasingly transpires on digital and social media platforms and results in offline organization and actions, it is crucial at this juncture to develop a framework designed to grapple with the complexity of these efforts and their effects. My research theorizes a socially just framework for advocacy enacted in digital and socially mediated spaces, as well as in everyday mundane texts. Specifically, in this dissertation project, I challenge the advocacy-as-always-already-good paradigm and propose a complex approach to analyzing and doing advocacy. The framework I propose is informed by an intersectional technofeminist rhetorical methodology that seeks to assist advocacy researchers and practitioners working toward social justice in identifying the potentials and constraints of advocacy in digital/socially mediated and classroom spaces and ensuring socially just results. Specifically, this framework asks researchers and advocates to examine advocacy through a lens focused on the complicated ways in which these efforts: (1) intersect and interact with individual bodies, lived experiences, and societal power dynamics; (2) emerge from and spawn additional advocacy efforts; and (3) illuminate and exacerbate the unequal platforms of various publics both within and beyond technologically mediated communication spaces.
Chapter I provides an overview of the project, the research questions guiding this project, and exigencies for engaging in this work. Next, I offer working definitions of the foundational concepts and a literature review that establishes how this research contributes to technofeminist, advocacy, and social justice scholarship in rhetoric, composition, and technical communication studies. Chapter II builds my intersectional technofeminist rhetorical methodology for interrogating digital advocacy, explains the framework’s features, discusses the methods employed to mobilize this framework, and acknowledges the benefits and limitations of using this approach. Chapter III illustrates one potential for utilizing an intersectional technofeminist approach through the analysis of an extended case study of several distinct interactions of the #MeToo movement across various platforms and cultures. Chapter IV applies an intersectional technofeminist methodology to another extended case study of a different interaction of the #MeToo movement to show how this framework can demonstrate the complexity of advocacy efforts when they intersect with institutional power centers. Chapter V outlines potential pedagogical approaches to enacting an intersectional technofeminist rhetorical approach to using advocacy and social media in the classroom. In the final concluding chapter, Chapter VI discusses implications for the public and for the disciplines of digital rhetorics, public rhetorics, and technical communication. Additionally, I forecast potential future work that might arise from the intersectional technofeminist rhetorical approach that I have developed in this dissertation.
KEYWORDS: Digital Rhetorics, Public Rhetorics, Technical Communication, Technofeminism, Social Media Activism, Advocacy, Platforms of Power
Warren-Riley, Sarah J., "Complicating Advocacy With Intersectional Technofeminism: A Social Justice Methodology For Digital Rhetorics, Public Rhetorics, And Technical Communication" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1161.