Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Reyman, Jessica

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of English


This dissertation explores content moderation as a form of resistance to online aggression and harassment, essentially asking the question “How do live streamers on Twitch address aggression through moderation?” Although much research in the fields of rhetoric and composition has addressed online aggression, platform affordances, and rhetorical resistance, Twitch—it’s rhetors, audiences, and communities—is understudied. Through the use of five case studies focusing on women, POC, and LGBTQ+ streamers, this dissertation examines streamer and community responses to aggression and highlights examples of unruly rhetoric (callouts, mockery, shame, jokes, etc.), which served to combat aggression, establish and reinforce community boundaries, and strip power from aggressors to the targeted. The second chapter establishes context for the aggressive behaviors occurring in the Twitch channels observed, offering a baseline of behavior. The third chapter presents case studies of four streamers and their channels to demonstrate different approaches and strategies for addressing online aggression. The fourth chapter examines a harassment campaign in which a platform affordance and (re)circulation of content was used to target a trans streamer. The concluding chapter encourages scholars and digital citizens to embrace unruly rhetoric and discusses possibilities for future research and ethical considerations.


230 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type


Included in

Rhetoric Commons