Anatomy of a protest: Activism, people, social media and urban space
1 online resource (53 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The black lives matter movement has risen in response to social injustices in the African-American community in the United States, specifically concerned with police shootings and brutality. Similar to many modern movements in the age of information, there have been many protests around the United States that utilize mobile technologies and social media to diffuse information, organize, and occupy public space to demand justice and equality. In this research, I studied activism in the United States from three separate layers: People, Social Media, and Urban Space. This will allow us to understand how the new forms of technology are manifested in the public space to demand justice. As a case study, I studied the series of protests in the aftermath of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina that occurred in September 2016. To understand the relationship between these three layers, I conducted focus group studies with protesters and activists. Using the results of the studies as a guideline, I then used social network analysis and natural language processing on a large corpus of Twitter data to understand the dynamics of this event. I find that specific Urban Spaces in Charlotte are important to protesters. Furthermore, I find that the importance of these urban spaces is reflected in Social Media. And finally, I find that discussions on Twitter regarding these protests are highly polarized, Influential Twitter users who are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement tend to use more specific spatial information in their tweets than individuals who are critical to the movement.
ACTIVISMPROTESTSOCIAL MEDIATWITTERURBAN SPACE
Davis, CharlesDou, WenwenCho, Isaac
Thesis (M.S.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2017.
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