Negotiating 9/11: Cultural repertoires and discourses in Brazilian, French, and American online fora
Laura C. Robinson, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
University of California, Los Angeles . Awarded
This dissertation draws on a unique body of naturally occurring discourse in order to explore how ideologies and frames are produced in the course of online interaction among members of different national groups. A group of exceptionally rich online discourses regarding September 11th and its aftermath are examined with an eye to uncovering the patterns of framing and focusing mobilized by different types of participants. Cyberethnographic observation and interpretative content analysis are used to probe the ways in which French, Brazilian, and American online participants frame the events of September 11th as well as its causes, consequences, and implications.
The study explores the competing visions of social difference and social solidarity that circulate within the three fora. Special attention is paid to the drawing of moral and social boundaries between the "us" and the "other" in the course of debates over guilt, culpability, and victimhood that take place in the three fora. Ideological positioning with regard to the United States or the American people is analyzed as salient identity categories in the Brazilian and French fora. The boundaries of explicitly political and nation-based identities are examined by looking at the ideological disputes between anti-American, anti-anti-American, and pro-American factions within these fora. The discourse on the American forum is interpreted in light of solidaristic pressures, which impinge upon the American participants in the wake of the event as a cultural trauma. Rival constructions of culpability are linked to understandings of what it means to be a "real" American and what it means to be "un-American." In addition to shedding light on the discursive possibilities inherent in such online interpretative communities, the work adds to our knowledge of both cultural globalization and online culture in general. It elucidates the kinds of communities that develop with national, international, and expatriate participants, as well as the types of identity work that occur through interaction, given the vastly enhanced capacities of individuals all over the world to communicate with one another about important and contentious topics.
Robinson, L.C. Negotiating 9/11: Cultural repertoires and discourses in Brazilian, French, and American online fora. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.
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