Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Bay

Committee Member 1

Samantha Blackmon

Committee Member 2

Michael Salvo


This thesis investigates infrastructural barriers to effecting change through social media participation. Though social media is said to hold "democratic potential" by enabling open access to the digital public sphere, in reality it is often still the most privileged voices that get heard. Even in success cases of the power of social media like the Arab Spring, situational contexts lead to particular infrastructural access points that are not universally transferable, and still tend to favor mainstream perspectives. Barriers to amplifying marginalized voices include inadequate systems for digital memory and sharing algorithms that promote the visibility of the already visible. These issues become particularly evident in the social media efforts of intersectional feminist writers, which are too often and too easily ignored. This thesis proposes that biased infrastructural configurations can and should be disrupted to promote change.