Activism, deliberation, and networked public screens: Rhetorical scenes from the Occupy moment in Lincoln, Nebraska (Part 1)

Joshua P. Ewalt, Jessy J. Ohl, Damien Smith Pfister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Part 1 of this manuscript is a dramatization of five rhetorical scenes that take the Occupy phenomenon as a moment to explore features of contemporary social protest and change. Drawing on rhetorical field notes collected over the first two weeks of Occupy Lincoln in Nebraska, we identify how historical tensions between activism and deliberation were both complicated and reasserted as the Occupy moment became a movement. The rhetorical scenes partially replicate actual conversations, though they are remediated through three composite figures: Anda, a longtime social activist; John, an advocate of democratic deliberation; and Dajuan, an undergraduate organizer of the local Occupy Movement. The footnotes throughout the dramatization anchor scholarly observations in Part 2 of the manuscript, a "footnote essay" which develops the concept of "networked public screens."The footnotes in the dramatization "Activism, Deliberation, and Networked Public Screens," published as Part 1 in this issue, point to the numerated paragraphs in Part 2. This interpretive "footnote essay" makes four contributions. First, we locate tensions between activism and deliberation in the scholarly literature on social change that manifest in the dramatization. Second, we explain and justify our method of assembling rhetorical scenes. Third, we develop the concept of "networked public screens." Finally, we articulate a distinction between movement and moment that bears on the broader Occupations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-190
Number of pages18
JournalCultural Studies - Critical Methodologies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • activism
  • deliberation
  • networked public screens
  • rhetorical scenes
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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