The Fourth Wave of Feminism: Political Discourse and Opinion Leaders in Twitter

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In the 21st century, the feminist movement continues to be one of the largest socio-political movements, which acquired a new consolidation platform via the Internet and new ways for mobilization via social media. The conceptualization of fourth-wave feminism is an exceptionally relevant topic for research, taking into account the results of the Women’s March and #MeToo movements, the actualization of feminist and gender equality issues in the digital social and political agenda, as well as the discourse around the situation with women’s rights and freedoms in Afghanistan. Social media democratized feminism and created precedents of converting feminist political capital from online to offline activities (examples are discussed in the article). To assess the extent, content and potential of fourth-wave feminism, the article presents the results of a Big Data study: network data upload from the social network Twitter for the keyword “women” (including more than 1,000,000 tweets and retweets). Using the methods of network, relational and discourse analysis the author analyzed the datasets obtained (at 5 control points), visualized social graphs, identified and described the opinion leaders (and the content that they formed) in the political discourse of the fourth-wave feminism on the Internet and described the dynamics of key discursive topics. As a result of the study, the author concluded how the issue of Afghan women’s rights entered the political discourse of fourth-wave feminism and how and why it was replaced by the issue of the Texas abortion law. The article ends in a conclusion about the prospects for the development of the discourse of fourth-wave feminism.

About the authors

Anna A. Gnedash

Kuban State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3516-107X

PhD of Political Science, Associate Professor

Krasnodar, Russia


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