Digital ethnography and critical discourse analysis of the Zero waste movement on social media

University essay from Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: The humankind uses more of earth’s resources than the planet’s ability to provide renewable resources (WWF 2016). This trend is also contributing to climate changes, which have been a topic on the global political agenda for decades. However, there has yet to be found a sustainable solution. People are becoming impatient of the politicians’ ability to solve the issue and through grassroot movements and activism a range of different approaches have been made to find solutions to climate changes. Social media provides new opportunities to organize large groups of loosely connected people of interest towards a common goal, in this case to take care of the planet. Social media have also developed new forms of political engagement. This thesis is a case study of climate change activism through the zero waste community in Denmark that based on framing theory (Goffman 1974), online observations of local Facebook groups and Instagram activity as well as in-depth interviews pursues to understand in what ways participants use social media to make their everyday climate activism meaningful. In this thesis, Bakardjieva (2009, 2012) concepts of subactivism and mundane citizenship combined with framing theory are used to understand the ways mundane climate change actions are perceived meaningful for the participants in the Danish zero waste community. The study shows examples of how participants of the zero waste community in Denmark use social media in a variety of ways to make their mundane climate activism meaningful for them. They use social media to be inspired, share experiences and feel part of a community that emphasize climate change activism through mundane every day routines. Through online discussions in Facebook groups and on Instagram the participants create, challenge and negotiate a collective action frame of the zero waste movement, which proves useful in motivating and inspiring them to continue to do small acts in their everyday life.

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