Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
I rely upon the ideas of symbolic interaction generally and the social constructionist approach to social movements in particular to explore the ways in which blog activists strategically use celebrity to generate attention on behalf the BDS campaign against SodaStream and to communicate claims and grievances on behalf of the wider Palestinian movement. Using grounded theory and mix-methods, I employed a process-oriented approach to collect and analyze three types of data: 1. text, 2. images, and 3. data I created quantitatively from the qualitative data extracted from Mondoweiss blog articles published from January to March 2014. The study addressed 1. in what ways blog activists strategically use celebrity to draw attention to the wider Palestinian movement’s claims and grievances; and 2. how blog activists maintained enduring interest in campaign activities for mobilizing social action and social change over time. The study examined how the SodaStream announcement of the Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson as their Global Brand Ambassador, which blog activities immediately labeled her as The Face of Apartheid, was used as an opportunity to provoke a response from the celebrity and to contest the authenticity of her reputation as a humanitarian fighting to end poverty. I identify how blog activities strategically utilize Johansson in multiple ways to problematize her as a spectacle to communicate claims and to generate attention. Blog activists utilized her responses as a further opportunity to strategically use her celebrity to sustain interest by politicizing her humanitarian reputation. This was intended to motivate action as they attached their contestation over her humanitarian reputation to key external issues surrounding the BDS campaign against SodaStream; ultimately legitimizing The Face of Apartheid label, a celebrity who chose to be on the wrong side of history.
Divinity Bridget O'connor-De Losrios
O'connor-De Losrios, Divinity Bridget, "The strategic use of The Face of Apartheid: examining Mondoweiss blog activists’ claims-making and protest activities over the Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream controversy" (2016). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15987.