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Anchoring Power through Identity in Online Communication

Title: Anchoring Power through Identity in Online Communication: The Trayvon Martin and Daniela Pelaez Cases.
Name(s): Mauney, Heather T., author
Rohlinger, Deana A., professor directing dissertation
Schmertmann, Carl P., university representative
Sanyal, Paromita, committee member
Ueno, Koji, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, degree granting college
Department of Sociology, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (143 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation research uses the analysis of internet-based comments on two major news stories to study the role of identity in anchoring power during discursive participation. For this purpose, identity includes the categorical group memberships that people may place themselves or others into, such as gender, race, or occupation. Identity, as an anchor, is used as a resource for the purpose of linking one’s wishes to power, with power being the amount of preferential treatment given to any particular identity in determining the course of events or proper direction of discussion. The Daniela Pelaez case and Trayvon Martin case were each selected for making national headlines at approximately the same time, both occurring in the same state, and both being in reference life altering circumstances for minority teenagers, yet representing different outcomes. A content analysis of news comment board posts for the Daniela Pelaez and Trayvon Martin cases has been performed to ascertain the use of identity in comments and prevalence of particular identities, the use of identity to anchor power, the acknowledgement of identities by readers, and the conditions under which identities were used. One article for each case was selected from the same national news source, with an analysis completed for the first 1,000 comments on each article. Identity used as an anchor to power is found to exist, but only has a significant interaction with presentation of an argument for the Martin case. This indicates that the association between anchoring identity and presenting an argument can vary by news story. Identity as an anchor itself varies with race, and is dependent on how race relates to the news story. It is also found that anchoring is more dependent on authors’ expectations of what others will consider important than it is effective on readers’ actual recordable reactions.
Identifier: FSU_FALL2017_Mauney_fsu_0071E_13216 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sociology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester 2017.
Date of Defense: November 14, 2017.
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Deana Rohlinger, Professor Directing Dissertation; Carl Schmertmann, University Representative; Paromita Sanyal, Committee Member; Koji Ueno, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Sociology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Mauney, H. T. (2017). Anchoring Power through Identity in Online Communication: The Trayvon Martin and Daniela Pelaez Cases. Retrieved from