TROUBLED PASTS AND FILTERED FUTURES: FRAMING SOLIDARITY, RIGHTS, AND THREATS ACROSS RACIAL LINES IN THE REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE MOVEMENT
Can a reproductive health organization address the history of eugenics with 140 characters and some emojis? Can a 10 second video establish the link between abortion access, child protective services, and prison abolition? This dissertation explores the framing – the use of narratives, symbols, and discourse used to motivate collective action – in social media posts social movement organizations (SMOs) in the reproductive health field. I ask: How do organizations frame the past and how does the past influence contemporary frames? While the organizations in my study share a field, they do not necessarily share the same collective memory of that field. Instead, organizational depictions of time and history may be divided across racial lines. Using SMOs’ social media posts on Instagram, I look at six reproductive health SMOs, three historically white (HW) and three POC-led. I use quantitative and qualitative analyses to explore differences in framing by organization type in my 1,200 Instagram post dataset. While all the organizations broadly claim inclusivity I hypothesize differences in framing around the past, legal rights, and threat. My work shows, both quantitatively and qualitatively, there are variations between HW and POC-organizations both in what frames are used and who is centered in those frames. I find HW-organizations are more likely to use rights framing, encourage participation in formal political institutions, and focus on inclusion along a single axis. In comparison, POC-organizations are less likely to use rights frames or call for formal political actions. They are more likely to encourage protest actions, highlight threats outside of legal restrictions, and center marginalized groups using an intersectional lens. I conclude that organizational understandings of temporality constrain historically white organizations’ capacity for intersectional solidarity and undermine POC-led organizations tactics, framings, and goals. Understanding frame variation across organizations in this field has broader implications for diversity, solidarity, and sustainability within social movements more broadly.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- West Lafayette