Library Dissertation Showcase

A discourse analysis into the organisation Refinery29 and the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter regarding their approach to gendered racism in the workplace

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

This Dissertation examines how centres such as social media play a vital role in the creation of discourse and power in regards to important topics such as gendered racism within the workplace towards Black women. This is with a particular focus on the online media organisation Refinery29, and the accusations and controversies that arose within June 2020 concerning their leadership and treatment towards their Black female employees within their American offices.

The research goes in a new direction to previous approaches and studies to gendered racism, as this research studies the discourses from a Foucauldian perspective through a Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA). This then allows for a new perspective of language and power to be analysed of both social media and the organisation and give an analysis of where these discourses are coming from, how powerful the discourses are, and if there is competition for a dominant discourse regarding the treatment of Black women in the workplace and the discourses that are created surrounding the subject of gendered racism. Plus, with the added element of the inclusion of the feminist critique of Foucault’s views, it adds a new addition to the analysis in which may not have been included within previous research in the area of discourse analysis.

The results show that the organisation, Refinery29 has the ability to create discourses as a result of the powers created internally by those in higher leadership positions within the organisation and is subsequently filtered through the organisation. Whereas discourses on social media are those created by individuals coming together to create a shared discourse in order to combat and resist against the power created by the organisation, and thus have created their own power. Therefore, following in one that is competing at the same level as large organisations, and resulting in these organisations having to respond and behave in a way that will please their audience in order to compete at the same level of power as them and the centre social media.

Key Words: Social Media, Power, Gendered Racism, Foucault, Feminist Critique, Discourse and Discourse Analysis

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