Visualizing #BostonStrong: Commemorative Implications for a Rhetorical Epithet of Civic Identity
1 online resource (65 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Following a tragic event such as a mass shooting, terrorist attack or natural disaster in the United States, it has become a ritual for audiences to establish particular hashtags pertaining to these events. Subsequent to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the hashtag #BostonStrong was widely circulated and used not only to describe the event itself, but to describe the city of Boston and its people as well. Although #BostonStrong is not the first of its kind, the hashtag in Boston has been among the most widely circulated and as of 2016, is still prominent in the discourse surrounding Boston. This case study of #BostonStrong is unique and allows for an innovative way of viewing hashtags as rhetorical tools with visual characteristics to communicate a particular cultural identity for a community. Thematic rhetorical analysis of visual and textual portrayals of Boston in newspapers, magazines, speeches and social media platforms was conducted in order to identify a particular ethos of strength in Boston. I argue that the combination of visual portrayals of Boston in public media along with the ethos or "spirit" of Boston that has become prevalent within the community, have ultimately influenced the communication about and the spatial commemoration practices of the Boston Marathon bombings. This study provides scholars with an innovative way of viewing hashtags pertaining to tragic events as tools for audiences to visualize and co-create meaning for an event such as the Boston Marathon bombings.
CIVIC IDENTITYCOMMEMORATIONIMAGE VERNACULARVISUAL IDEOGRAPHVISUAL RHETORIC
Grano, DanielCrane, Jonathan
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016.
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