The spark of a paracrisis

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation

Abstract: This thesis written within the field of strategic communication and digital media, aims to understand how discourse constructs the paracrisis prevailing on the dairy corporation Arla's Instagram account. A social constructivist perspective to reality and a hermeneutic approach to meaning has been the frame of reference for this study. The empirical material has been compiled through a qualitative textual analysis of the most commented posts during the past two years. Subsequently, the comments on the posts have been analysed through a discourse- and rhetorical analysis. The collected material has been contextualised within the framework of paracrises, new social movement theory, framing and image repair theory. The findings of the analysis show that there is a tension between Arla and a new social movement that deems the industry immoral. These two sides frame two contradicting truths within the existing discourse and their rhetorics: both claiming to cherish the wellbeing of animals, yet clashing on what this actually means. The new social movement was found to be using mostly diagnostic and motivational framing in their discourse with an underlying prognostic frame of becoming vegan. To respond to this new social movement Arla mostly utilised simple denial, good intention and minimisation strategies within image repair theory. Furthermore, we found that Arla's faith-holders were additionally using the response strategy of attacking the accuser when confronting the new social movement commentators. This thesis is an extension to literature within crisis communication on social media in addition to being a contribution to the discursive traits of new social movements in digital settings.

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