Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
In this paper, I will be considering research participants from one group of political activists and community organizers in a statewide Texas organization that formed after the 2016 presidential election. The members of the group, all residents of the greater Houston, Texas area, use multiple social media and communication platforms in order to organize their movement. In this project I focus primarily on their activities on Facebook, both on their personal “walls” as well as within secret Facebook groups within which members discuss topics of current political interest and announce political gatherings. The primary focal participants discussed in this paper are three of the most active members of both Houston and statewide leadership teams. They post frequently both within the group’s secret page as well as on their personal walls regarding their political activities and ideologies. In the interest of gaining an understanding of how they present particular aspects of their identities, I examine these individuals’ deployment of semiotic resources in order to take stances (Jacknick & Avni 2016; Jaffe 2009), as they write their own thoughts, broadcast live videos, and share (these are instances of entextualization and re-semiotization, Leppanen et al. 2014) and evaluate (Sinatora 2019, p. 7) information from other sources, in the interest of understanding how they portray themselves as members of a singular activist community (here seen as a ‘light’ community (Blommaert 2017)) who also bring their own ‘thick’ identities - their longer-term, more stable identity features (ibid.) - with them into their activism.