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Monitoring mobilization: a discursive psychological analysis of online mobilizing practices

Petra Sneijder (Department of Cross Media Communication in the Public Domain, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Baukje Stinesen (Department of Cross Media Communication in the Public Domain, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Maartje Harmelink (Department of Cross Media Communication in the Public Domain, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Annette Klarenbeek (Department of Cross Media Communication in the Public Domain, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 5 February 2018

448

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to describe the ways in which people use language to achieve mobilization. Recognizing and anticipating the discursive practices that are used online, for instance for mobilization, increasingly is a primary concern for professionals in crisis communication or issue management.

Design/methodology/approach

A discursive psychological perspective is drawn upon to conduct a qualitative analysis of the interactional and rhetorical features of mobilization on two Facebook event pages, and to discover patterns of talk.

Findings

Three dominant discursive patterns were identified: disputing the integrity of authorities, constructing a positive atmosphere and a feeling of “togetherness” and constructing decisive identities. These activities play an important role in mobilization and are accomplished by the use of language. Furthermore, it demonstrates that mobilization involves the concern of not overtly presenting oneself as a victim or activist.

Research limitations/implications

Insights into the discursive strategies people use to achieve mobilization are important for recognizing these discursive phenomena during media monitoring. The analysis presented in this paper does not allow the authors to draw general conclusions nor the success of the strategies in terms of the actual events.

Practical implications

The study offers important insights for communication professionals (for instance, in the domain of crisis communication), enabling them to recognize mobilizing practices in other contexts and designing an adequate response.

Social implications

The study exposes those issues that are important for mobilizing a community and creating public engagement.

Originality/value

In addition to other studies on the role of language in mobilization, the current study adds a perspective that takes into account both the rhetorical and the interactional features of mobilization. Furthermore, the findings are implemented in a training for professionals in the domain of crisis communication.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was conducted as part of the two-year research project “The Next Level: @Crisis via Cross media” at the University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht. This project was funded by SIA, the Dutch board of practice-oriented research.

Citation

Sneijder, P., Stinesen, B., Harmelink, M. and Klarenbeek, A. (2018), "Monitoring mobilization: a discursive psychological analysis of online mobilizing practices", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 14-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-12-2016-0094

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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