The Palestine Solidarity Movement in Ireland and the UK: mediating and framing Palestine online
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This research explores the Palestine Solidarity Movement’s contemporary collective action in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and the impact of online media on the dynamics of the movement’s activism. It does so through examining the movement’s strategies, in particular on advocacy, lobbying and the mediation of Palestine via the World Wide Web. The research provides insight into the movement’s activism as it is influenced by Internet interactive platforms, particularly the social media sites Facebook and Twitter, in a global solidarity context. The importance of this thesis lies in its contribution to the body of research that examines the effect of the Internet and its interactive social platforms on national and transnational mobilising, organising and mediation within the Palestinian–global context. A textual and contextual analysis of the movement’s communication dynamics online has been applied to better understand the frames that have been adopted, and the forms of representation that have been used in mediating the question of Palestine between 2011 and 2014. The research also offers new knowledge and understanding of the contemporary mediation of Palestine both as a location where the displacement of an entire people is taking place and as a symbol of an indigenous struggle that global activists relate to. The contribution to the movement’s activism of its online presence is identified through examining the continuous nature of the online communication between the movement and its activists, and through identifying the expansion of the movement’s online communities. Social media sites contribute to empowering activists by enabling them to organise better both online and offline, enabling a process of mediating Palestine, and facilitating engagement with like-minded activists locally and globally. Furthermore, the social media sites maximise the number of engaged global citizens in organised media advocacy and online lobbying campaigns. This research concludes that the use of online platforms for lobbying parliamentarians on the case of Palestine is growing and is becoming more established on the Internet. In addition, the framing analysis found that a resistance frame had been re–introduced in the movement’s online discourse through university-based campaigns that articulated and amplified the resistance aspect of the Palestinian political prisoners’ hunger strike. Although the movement is engaged in many aspects of the Palestinian struggle, including supporting the Palestinian resistance, its collaboration with the Palestinian national movement was found to be limited.