Government, God and Family: A Multi-Modal Analysis of Stories and Storytelling in an Online Social Movement

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This study explores the online recruitment and mobilization of followers in a social movement. In this study, I identify and analyze how certain narratives were produced, distributed and recirculated online

This study explores the online recruitment and mobilization of followers in a social movement. In this study, I identify and analyze how certain narratives were produced, distributed and recirculated online by a social movement organization that depicted players in the movement in ways that engaged followers in actions of advocacy and support. Also, I examine how particular narratives were taken up, negotiated, amplified, and distributed by online supporters who eventually become co-tellers of the narrative and ultimately advocates on behalf of the social movement. By examining a selection of media statements, open letters, protest speeches, blogs, videos and pictures, I show how online practices might contribute to inspiring and mobilizing action or responses from a large number of followers. Data include selected excerpts from an online social movement that began in Norway in 2015 and later gathered momentum and strength outside of Norway and Europe. This multi-modal analysis of digital practices demonstrates how collaboratively produced narratives (e.g., of suffering, sorrow, persecution or resilience) emerge and gain traction in the digital space, the relationship between the temporal and spatial dimensions of narrative, and the role of collective memory in building a sense of community and shared identity. Demonstrating the dialogic and interactional dimensions of meaning-making processes, this case study informs how we might theorize and understand the role of identity and narrative in the emergence and amplification of social movements.