Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations

Title

Latent Network Construction of Men's Movement Organizations Online

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Joshua Atkinson (Advisor)

Second Advisor

David Jackson (Other)

Third Advisor

Michael Butterworth (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Ellen Gorsevski (Committee Member)

Abstract

In literature related to new social movements, little has been presented about movements focusing on issues and concerns pertaining to men as a group. The reason for this may have to do with the “dominant” position all men are believed to hold in most societies. Despite this view, movement organizations have been established to challenge social constructs of masculinity and expose how such constructs act as barriers to forming a dialogue that fully include men into discussions regarding gender politics. This analysis seeks to address these discussions among men’s movement organizations by providing a way of conceptualizing network formation of men’s movement organizations online. Using Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity as a theoretical base, a qualitative content analysis of fifteen men’s movement organization websites between April and June of 2012 is carried out to understand how network formation can take place among these organizations despite different perspectives to the degree in which men are benefactors of current social conditions. The analysis shows that two major factions exist in categorizing men’s movement organizations: Pro-feminist men who primarily focus on how men can change to benefit women, and anti-feminist men who suggest that men are harmed as much as women due to socio-economic structures. Regardless of this chasm, thematic intersections do exist between organizations in both factions that rhetorically connect them to each other in such a way that suggest a unifying desire to challenge hegemonic masculine norms and promote a progressive form of masculinity. This potential conciliation of movement organizations is complicated by the way pro-feminist and anti-feminist groups challenge ideographs. The tactics utilized in online forums where ideographs are challenged reveal a different type of social movement strategy, negotiated mobilization, that suggests organization leaders and members act in such a way that indicates awareness of how those both within and outside the organization perceive the messages they produce. This new strategy, negotiated mobilization, can provide further insight on how new social movement’s use of alternative media impacts networked activism.

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