Multimodal Analysis as a Framework for Studying Social Movement Rhetoric: A Comparison of Theoretical Perspectives on the Counterpublic Discourse of Occupy Wall Street and WikiLeaks




DeLaCruz, Lauren

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This thesis argues that we should adopt a theory of social movement that is based in rhetorical principles—one that accepts social movement as changes to a set of meanings, or ideology. Instead of focusing primarily or exclusively on the resources and leadership of organizations, this thesis argues that we should study the discourse of counterpublics—the entities involved in social movement activities. By critiquing and expanding upon DeLuca’s work on image events, this thesis argues that we should examine the entire process that counterpublic discourse goes through—production, dissemination, and circulation—from a multimodal perspective. This thesis identifies Occupy Wall Street and WikiLeaks ix as counterpublics and examines each discourse from three perspectives— traditional, image event, and multimodal—in order to demonstrate the strengths of a multimodal theoretical framework.



Social movement, Rhetoric, Public sphere, Multimodality, WikiLeaks, Occupy Wall Street