Dream Defending, On-Campus and Beyond: A Multi-sited Ethnography of Contemporary Student Organizing, the Social Movement Repertoire, and Social Movement Organization in College

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/595672
Title:
Dream Defending, On-Campus and Beyond: A Multi-sited Ethnography of Contemporary Student Organizing, the Social Movement Repertoire, and Social Movement Organization in College
Author:
Davis III, Charles Harold Frederick
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Much of the extant higher education literature examining student activism and social movements in college is limited by both chronological time and physical space. In addition, very little is known about the ways in which technology generally and social media specifically are embraced in contemporary student organizing practices. Accordingly, my multi-sited ethnographic study focuses on the Dream Defenders, a Florida-based, racially and ethnically-diverse multi-campus social movement organization "developing the next generation of radical leaders to realize and exercise [their] independent, collective power; building alternative systems; and organizing to disrupt the structures that oppress [their]communities" (Dream Defenders, 2014). More specifically, my study is intended to contemporize research on student activism in college by using robust, real-time ethnographic data to examine off-campus organizing undertaken by Dream Defenders' organization and their use of new and social media technologies. Drawing from and modifying resource dependency/resource mobilization perspectives and new social movement theories, I conceptualize the interactive use of the aforementioned technologies as mobilizing structures and in the construction movement frames–parts of the social movement repertoire (Tilly, 2004) of contemporary student organizers. The findings from my study indicate the use of alternative and activist new media in contemporary student organizing is part of a larger, dynamic interactive process of traditional organizing practices to include four primary domains: occupation and agitation, power building, political participation, and civic demonstration. More specifically, findings further indicate the use of 1) mediated mobilization, and 2) culture jamming (Lievrouw, 2011) as alternative and activist new media practices within the Dream Defenders' social movement repertoire. The former harnesses the power of social media to leverage new and existing networks of college student organizers in on-the-ground mobilization. The latter, however, utilizes the production of digital art for purposes of social and political critique, which also serve as a diagnostic frame by which contemporary student organizers are able to identify problems/issues of concern and attribute of blame to key political targets. Overall, my study makes scholarly contributions to the empirical, theoretical/conceptual, and methodological domains of higher education research generally and student activism scholarship in particular. First, the findings from my study challenge higher education scholars to consider the importance of moving beyond campus contexts to investigate students' lives, which are increasingly occurring off- and away from campus. Second, my findings expand understandings of the ways in which contemporary college students relate to technology and social media beyond social uses, entertainment purposes, and utility for the delivery of instructional content to include harnessing alternative and activist new media for creating social change. Lastly, my findings strongly counter the prevailing narrative regarding millennials' lack of awareness of their history. Through drawing from communities of memory, invoking traditions of non-violent civil disobedience, and leveraging relationships with historical civil rights icons to increase legitimacy, contemporary student organizers draw upon history as a non-material resource as part of their social movement repertoire.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Ethnography; Higher Education; Social Media; Social Movements; Student Activism; Higher Education; Culture
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Higher Education
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Rhoades, Gary D.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleDream Defending, On-Campus and Beyond: A Multi-sited Ethnography of Contemporary Student Organizing, the Social Movement Repertoire, and Social Movement Organization in Collegeen_US
dc.creatorDavis III, Charles Harold Fredericken
dc.contributor.authorDavis III, Charles Harold Fredericken
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractMuch of the extant higher education literature examining student activism and social movements in college is limited by both chronological time and physical space. In addition, very little is known about the ways in which technology generally and social media specifically are embraced in contemporary student organizing practices. Accordingly, my multi-sited ethnographic study focuses on the Dream Defenders, a Florida-based, racially and ethnically-diverse multi-campus social movement organization "developing the next generation of radical leaders to realize and exercise [their] independent, collective power; building alternative systems; and organizing to disrupt the structures that oppress [their]communities" (Dream Defenders, 2014). More specifically, my study is intended to contemporize research on student activism in college by using robust, real-time ethnographic data to examine off-campus organizing undertaken by Dream Defenders' organization and their use of new and social media technologies. Drawing from and modifying resource dependency/resource mobilization perspectives and new social movement theories, I conceptualize the interactive use of the aforementioned technologies as mobilizing structures and in the construction movement frames–parts of the social movement repertoire (Tilly, 2004) of contemporary student organizers. The findings from my study indicate the use of alternative and activist new media in contemporary student organizing is part of a larger, dynamic interactive process of traditional organizing practices to include four primary domains: occupation and agitation, power building, political participation, and civic demonstration. More specifically, findings further indicate the use of 1) mediated mobilization, and 2) culture jamming (Lievrouw, 2011) as alternative and activist new media practices within the Dream Defenders' social movement repertoire. The former harnesses the power of social media to leverage new and existing networks of college student organizers in on-the-ground mobilization. The latter, however, utilizes the production of digital art for purposes of social and political critique, which also serve as a diagnostic frame by which contemporary student organizers are able to identify problems/issues of concern and attribute of blame to key political targets. Overall, my study makes scholarly contributions to the empirical, theoretical/conceptual, and methodological domains of higher education research generally and student activism scholarship in particular. First, the findings from my study challenge higher education scholars to consider the importance of moving beyond campus contexts to investigate students' lives, which are increasingly occurring off- and away from campus. Second, my findings expand understandings of the ways in which contemporary college students relate to technology and social media beyond social uses, entertainment purposes, and utility for the delivery of instructional content to include harnessing alternative and activist new media for creating social change. Lastly, my findings strongly counter the prevailing narrative regarding millennials' lack of awareness of their history. Through drawing from communities of memory, invoking traditions of non-violent civil disobedience, and leveraging relationships with historical civil rights icons to increase legitimacy, contemporary student organizers draw upon history as a non-material resource as part of their social movement repertoire.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectEthnographyen
dc.subjectHigher Educationen
dc.subjectSocial Mediaen
dc.subjectSocial Movementsen
dc.subjectStudent Activismen
dc.subjectHigher Educationen
dc.subjectCultureen
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineHigher Educationen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorRhoades, Gary D.en
dc.contributor.committeememberRhoades, Gary D.en
dc.contributor.committeememberCabrera, Nolan L.en
dc.contributor.committeememberHarper, Shaun R.en
dc.contributor.committeememberMoll, Luis C.en
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