Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Soulliere, Danielle

Keywords

Social sciences, Communication and the arts, Activism, Child soldiering, Child soldiers, Facebook, Social constructionism, Social media

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The increased popularity of social networking among youth today has given rise to the potential for social activism through social media. Using the Social Constructionist perspective, this thesis examines how three popular Facebook pages construct the `problem' of child soldiering. In particular, these Facebook pages made use of text, images, and links that invited members to cast negative judgment on the issue of child soldiering, which was further enhanced by connecting this problem to other issues plaguing children, such as poverty and lack of education. Moreover, techniques used to raise awareness and promote activism were primarily accomplished by providing images of volunteers accompanied by messages encouraging others to "get involved" or "make a difference." This study contributes to the scholarly understanding of the role of social media in raising awareness of global issues and to the larger impact of the Internet in encouraging and facilitating advocacy.

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