Emancipatory Hope: Reclaiming Black Social Movement Continuity

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From the Freedom Songs to the Pullman Porters, African Americans have had to find ways to make collective use of the available means of communication for resistance, survival, and political organizing. The Movement for Black Lives carries on this tradition by using social media platforms, specifically Twitter. Accordingly, I asked: How do Black activists use Twitter to communicate ideas of hope and survival? Applying an adaption of Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis, I examined Black activists’ constructions and utilization of hope for political action through shared artifacts of engagement across Twitter. By engaging both the interface of Twitter, its uses, and significant cultural practices along with a content analysis of Black activists’ online discussion, I identified the technocultural political framing of the current movement for Black lives. I argued that hope becomes a vehicle by which African Americans pass along strategies and tactics for liberation through technocultural practice. I conceptualized these findings as emancipatory hope, a utopian expectation of the collective capacity for dismantling race, class, and gender dominance. This research has implications for how we understand social movement theorizing by including a technoculture lens to the abeyance formation of social movement continuity theory.