Justin Yates

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rodgers, Diane M., 1959-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Social media--Political aspects; Social movements; Internet--Political aspects


Social movement organizations operate and communicate using new mediums, such as the use of social media. Anonymous is a non-hierarchical online activist group with unidentified members that engages in exploiting technology toward politically motivated goals. This study examined how a group without formal structure or identifiable members frames its activities as "righteous." Specifically, this study examined the rhetoric of a non-hierarchical online activist group with unidentified members and how it frames its activities as just. This study explored the challenges in maintaining and creating righteous rhetoric for a group with online, non-hierarchical, and unidentified members. Using social movement framing theory and identity framing, this study examined the frames presented by Anonymous on the social media websites YouTube and Facebook. Through the use of content analysis, videos, comments, and wall posts were sampled among groups affiliated with Anonymous. Data was coded and analyzed for emergent frames. Prominent themes included injustice, powerful elite and corruption, as well as the cost and challenges of a righteous rhetoric. This study investigated how a non-hierarchical, online organization with unidentified members exploits technology to create a righteous rhetoric in a way that reflects the interconnection of these characteristics.


Advisors: Diane Rodgers.||Committee members: Kerry O. Ferris; Kristopher K. Robison.||Includes bibliographical references.


ii, 94 pages




Northern Illinois University

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