Toft, A. “Tracking issue brokerage in movement media: Semantic network analysis of issue movement mentions on Democracy Now!” Paper presented at the International Network of Social Network Analysis SUNBELT conference, Brighton, UK, June 23-28, 2015.
This paper examines the ways that political activists connect issue movements through language use as they build support for their cause, and position it in a broader understanding of the political terrain. I suggest that political discourse in social movements is organized through issues, and that the identification and bridging of issues movements forms a backbone for how movement activity is understood, positioned, and made meaningful in political life. I present an empirical analysis of the linguistic strategies employed by movement participants for bridging issue movements by drawing on a 10-year (2003-2013) 5 million word corpus of spoken word transcripts from the popular TV and radio news program Democracy Now!, a nationally syndicated daily 1-hour program produced in NYC by and for political activists.