Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


English Rhetoric and Composition


Kate Mangelsdorf


Micro-Level Movements Matter is a transnational digital study which explores audience and persuasion, identity performances and performative agency through an examination of Big Data gathered from Twitter's comprehensive historical archives collected from during the 2011 Egyptian revolution. In Egypt, the demonstrator's use of social media was extraordinarily savvy and persuasive-richly saturated in rhetorical devices effectively employed to appeal to wide swath of audiences. Overtime participatory discourse on social media engaged new ideas and dissenting socio-political thoughts, crafted shifting identities, refashioned new possibilities and futures community wide, and resulted in a remarkably successful large scale mobilization campaign. To conduct my study I captured over 300,000 tweets over the course of the 18 day revolution. In the project I apply Pennycook's (2008) theory of performance and transformance to explore how demonstrators used persuasive devices in meaningful ways, connecting with and influencing local and international networks. I approach digital activism as rhetorical practice and examine Tweets to understand the ways demonstrators identify and persuade audiences, perform identity(ies), and utilize identity performances to enter and move conversations in and beyond digital spaces. I analyze the way discursive resistance disrupted disciplinary power, facilitating resistant acts online which overtime transcended digital spaces. Finally, I utilize Grounded Theory and Discourse Analysis as the methodologies, performing all collection, classification, coding, and analysis in DiscoverText and SPSS.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

175 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Audrey Cisneros

Included in

Communication Commons