Credit Jabin Botsford/The New York Times.
“I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me – it’s official: Hillary’s running for president,” said an email released this morning written by John D. Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chairman. This announcement set in stone what could be one of the Democratic party’s least contested races for Presidential nomination in recent history (according to an article by Amy Chozick in The New York Times). It could also be the first time in history a woman will succeed in winning a major party’s nomination and potentially the presidency.
This announcement could not come at a better time – for both our country, and for the purpose of this blog post. For my study the narrow scope has yet to be defined, but I do know that in it I will examine the online discourse surrounding Hillary’s presidential campaign in late 2015. The study will employ a theoretical perspective to understand the power play within the digital sphere and the language used to position a female candidate by both of the political majorities.
The application of theory in this study will be vital in creating a foundation for understanding the power play between the sexes and the language and tactics used in discourse surrounding a public figure. This study will have immense practical application in the power tug-of-war between the sexes as more of our everyday lives become digital. It will also participate in, and pose an opportunity for social transformation, as it will coincide with the events surrounding the first female presidential candidate.
As we debate whether the digital world is really an extension of the “real world,” and many individuals (in this case women) experience sexual harassment and sexism in online dialogue, this is the perfect time to examine the status quo within the discourse of online communities, the media, and thus our society as a whole.
This study will be very rigorous, as it will be important to collect a large enough amount of data to sufficiently support my hypothesis, findings, and to paint a picture that uses criteria that are as theoretically sound as possible. Because the study will not run the entire length of Hillary’s presidential campaign, it will be necessary to gather the right type of data to create a useful snapshot. When adopting appropriate data collection and analysis practices, I will have to rely on primary, reliable online sources. It also might be in the study’s best interest to focus on Hillary’s campaign for democratic presidential nominee instead of her presidential campaign as a whole.
Chozick explains that Hillary’s platform will focus on “improving the economic fortunes of the middle class, with an emphasis on increasing wages and reducing income inequality.” But, only time will tell if online discourse between the two political majorities will actually focus Hillary’s political platform and less on gender.
Post in response to Exercise 11.1 (p.233) in Qualitative Research Methods by Sarah J. Tracy.