My Dissertation: Convergence Culture and Competing Literacy Sponsors in Post-Arab Spring Movements

Convergence Culture and Competing Literacy Sponsors in Post-Arab Spring Movements by Rachel Noel-Marie Cantrell

A rhetorical analysis of activist literacy events in post-Arab Spring protests movements through the lens of convergence culture illustrates the competing literacy sponsorships between (1) participants vs. broadcast media and (2) social media vs governments. Unpacking their media literacy practices illustrates how these activists utilize social media and technology to challenge their governments and corporate broadcast media reporting about their protests and activities. This rhetorical analysis includes the literacy events that illustrate competing literacy sponsorship in the following discourse communities: Occupy movements, Turkey’s Gezi Park, the Ferguson race protests in the United States, the 2008 presidential race, and Texas Senator Wendy Davis’s 2013 filibuster.

This analysis of these media literacy practices will show how these discourse communities use media to open up dialogues within their communities in order to enact social change and how it illustrates the opposing forces trying to regulate the internet to shut down this dialogue as it threatens authoritarianism while breeding democracy. These movements can be analyzed to illustrate how media literacy is being harnessed within these different discourse communities as a form of resistance to challenge neo-liberal systems and organize action from their dialogue. The rhetorical analysis of these movements also illustrates how convergence culture is a form of literacy sponsorship within these discourse communities.

PhD in English from Texas A&M University-Commerce (Summer 2016)

convergence culture
critical pedagogy
literacy sponsor
media literacy