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Title: Campaigning in the age of digital media : exploring the influences of digital affordances on campaigning in environmental non-governmental organisations
Author: Hushlak, Anna A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6096
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is a qualitative exploration into the affordances of digital media and environmental campaigning through the lens of media and communication geography. It is guided by the following question: How do digital media affordances influence the conduct of campaigning in environmental non-governmental organisations? To address this question, this thesis follows the 'four paper route'. Specifically, this research relies on semi-structured interviews, participant observation, content analysis, and virtual ethnography to investigate core topics related to digitally-mediated campaigning: engagement, strategy, membership, and online communities. To begin, the first paper examines how environmental campaigners frame engagement, and the extent to which these frames are coproduced with their adoption of digital media. The second paper explores how digital media affordances influence the ways in which ENGOs approach audiences, tactics, and organising structures when building campaign strategy. Expanding on findings from the second paper, the third paper investigates how digital media affordances are changing organisational perceptions of membership in the everyday vocabularies of ENGOs. Last the fourth paper adopts a virtual ethnographic approach to better understand how supporters take part in online communities (OCs), and the relationship of OCs to online and offline participation. This thesis is timely and significant for several reasons. First, environmental politics have emerged as a major issue area within the international arena. The majority of these politics are influenced by mass media. Thus, this research offers insight into how organisations harness and leverage digital media affordances for environmental activism and advocacy. Second, much of the scholarship exploring digital affordances and contemporary activism situates itself within social movements. Instead, by focusing on campaigns, this research provides an alternative unit of analysis below that of social movements yet above the level of individuals. Last non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have, and continue to, use campaigns to connect citizens and politics. Thus, understanding how digital media affordances are influencing campaigning is critical to realising the beliefs, aspirations, and needs of different groups within society.
Supervisor: Jepson, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available