Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Christine Beliard

Third Advisor

Toran Hansen

Abstract

In the age of social media, many Black women use online platforms and social networks as a means of connecting with other Black women and to share their experiences of social oppression and misogynoir, anti-Black misogyny. Examining the ways that Black women use technology as a tool to actively wage resistance to racial, gender and class oppression is critical for understanding their role in the human struggle for greater peace, beauty, freedom and justice. This study explored the experiences of 12 Black women in the United States and Britain who use social media for storytelling and testimony about their lives as racial and gendered minorities. The research questions were: How do Black women in the United States and Britain use social media for storytelling and testimony about their lives as Black women? What is the lived experience of using social media for this purpose? How does the experience affect them and what meaning do they find in using social media for this purpose? Using an interpretative phenomenological approach, the researcher developed findings which show that Black women experience social media as an affirming, safe space for counter storytelling, education and transformation, negotiating identity and for connection to a larger, African diasporic identity. This research serves to increase the knowledge and scholarship about how Black women challenge damaging stereotypes and restrictive social narratives and how they use social media to challenge structural and ideological violence directed at them in an effort to promote dialogue and healing.