We Strike, Therefore We Are? A Twitter Analysis of Feminist Identity in the Context of #DayWithoutAWoman

  • Lillan Sally Lommel University of Edinburgh
  • Margrit Schreier Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
  • Jakob Fruchtmann Jacobs University Bremen
Keywords: collective identity, contemporary feminism, social movement, Twitter analysis, critical discourse analysis, U.S. presidential elections

Abstract

In this article, we explore the collective identity of feminist activists as expressed on Twitter in the context of "Day Without A Woman." We conceptualize collective feminist identity by drawing upon literature on identity, feminism, and social movements. We expected to find a politically-defined group boundary around supporters of "Day Without A Woman." Using the online tool Netlytic, we collected tweets posted from accounts in Washington D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles. In a preliminary step, we performed a word count analysis and coded frequent words within the collected tweets into categories of meaning. Based on these categories, we drew a sub-sample of tweets, which we scrutinized in-depth using discourse analysis. Through this qualitative analysis, we show that the group boundary of the supporters of "Day Without A Woman" is defined by the common denominator of their negative relation to Donald TRUMP. While the supporters stress the relevance of feminist claims, barriers to identifying as a feminist seem to persist, as reflected in those whom we call "flexi-feminists." The boundary between supporters and non-supporters of "Day Without A Woman" hence seems to broaden from a line to a space which can be occupied without complete group entry. In this space and beyond, supporters express feminist identity through an "us" versus "him" logic.

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Author Biographies

Lillan Sally Lommel, University of Edinburgh

Lillan LOMMEL is a master of science by research student in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Her research interests include gender, identities, feminism, women and leadership, and emotions.

Margrit Schreier, Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

Margrit SCHREIER is professor of empirical research methods at Jacobs University Bremen. In her research, she focuses on qualitative research methods and methodology, mixed methods, media psychology, sensory processing sensitivity, and health-related topics.

Jakob Fruchtmann, Jacobs University Bremen

Jakob FRUCHTMANN is faculty member of Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences and lecturer of sociology at Jacobs University Bremen. He works in the fields of political, media and economic sociology with a strong regional focus on Eastern Europe.

Published
2019-05-25
How to Cite
Lommel, L. S., Schreier, M., & Fruchtmann, J. (2019). We Strike, Therefore We Are? A Twitter Analysis of Feminist Identity in the Context of #DayWithoutAWoman. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.2.3229

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