J. K. Rowling’s tweets following and regarding the Parkland School Shooting – A Critical Discourse Analysis

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: The Parkland School Shooting in February 2018 caused a flood of empathy, grief, and anger on Twitter. Having gained popularity and a reputation for her political commentary on US American events on the social media platform, the British author J. K. Rowling published a variety of intriguing tweets following and regarding the Shooting. The pur-pose of this study is to characterise Rowling’s tweets, to relate them to the discursive Twitter practice, and to look for correspondences with the concept of celebrity advocacy. To do so, this thesis offers an adaption of critical discourse analysis in order to examine the structures, meanings, and stances behind Rowling’s tweets following and regarding the Shooting. To grasp the underlying ideologies and motives, theory of discourse, repre-sentation, celebrity advocacy, spectatorship of suffering, and othering is consulted. The study brings to light that Rowling’s tweets are characterized by dialogue, exploitation of voices, othering, and discursive constructions of distance and proximity. Moreover, the findings stress Rowling’s tweets in the light of self-presentation and performance of altru-ism. Ultimately, the study reveals that Rowling’s tweets exhibit a highly mediated form of celebrity advocacy empowered by the practical circumstances of Twitter as social media platform.

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