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

Dustin Berna

Second Advisor

Jason J. Campbell

Third Advisor

Judith McKay

Abstract

The Internet is a ubiquitous feature in everyday life, but its application to social movements has yet to be completely understood. This phenomenological study examines the lived experiences of bloggers who focused on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement in the United States to understand the impact bloggers and their work as online activists have on existing LGBT social movement organization and operation. Data collection is gathered from semi-structured and open-ended interviews with four social movement bloggers using web-conference software over the course of three months. The results of this study indicated that internet has empowered individual activists, allowing them to gather a following and share their views to a large audience over the web, independent from existing social movement organizations. Consequently, bloggers and online activists maintain a relationship with existing social movement structure that is both collaborative and antagonistic. The results of this study contribute to the current understanding of social movement organizations as well as the impact of technological innovations on social movement advocacy.