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Title page for ETD etd-05112018-153022

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Reed, Arthur Emmanuel
Author's Email Address art.reed@gmx.com
URN etd-05112018-153022
Title “Frustrated Crusaders” or “Outside Hoarders”? Coverage and Framing of Occupy Wall Street by The New York Times
Degree Master of Arts
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Holly J. McCammon Committee Chair
Larry W. Isaac Committee Member
  • occupy wall street
  • media framing
  • social movements
  • media packages
Date of Defense 2018-05-31
Availability unrestricted
This paper seeks to uncover mechanisms by which print media (The New York Times) frames social movement; in this case, Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the convergence of a diverse group of activists in New York City’s financial district beginning in September 2011. Through rhetorical analysis of articles published within a fourteen-week period of interest, this research focuses on how mainstream media frames deploy “media packages” (Gamson and Modigliani 1989) in response to exogenous factors (political actors, the role of the police, and factors relating to OWS), thus providing valuable insight into the role media continues to play in the representation of social movement activity.

On one hand, positive framing of OWS resulted from the garnering support of political actors, from police violence wherein protesters came to be regarded as victims of state repression, and finally as OWS surfaced inequalities in public discourse and gave the public a sense of power in voicing their grievances. Negative framing tended: to emphasize fringe and deviant OWS participants; to accentuate OWS’s difficulties in identifying a coherent, singular purpose or goal; and, to represent the movement as being a public nuisance during times of little OWS activity, all of which took trivializing and disparaging tones of the OWS movement as a whole. Negative framing only resulted from characteristics of the movement, and was not influenced by political actors or police activity.

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