BLOOMINGTENSIONS: A FARMER’S MARKET CONTROVERSY
As an early form of a larger investigation of digital discourse, my project investigates how controversies circulate between actants within discourse communities on social media. Mapping the interactions of these discursive exchanges can help scholars better understand modes of digitally mediated information. Focusing on interactions between a vendor and an advocacy group at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market—Schooner Creek Farms and No Space For Hate, respectively—I plan to document the interactions of the groups that occurred in the summer of 2019 using “controversy mapping”—a method of documenting relationality based in actor-network theory. I will then utilize coding tools offered by IDAH to form a folksonomy—a system of classifying and organizing online content—to parse the language attitudes of social media users conveyed through those groups.
Drawing from current scholarship on attitudes around social media use, as well as digital news engagement and the responses to news validity, my sampling of controversy in the Bloomington community explores not just the locally situated controversy but also digital users and discourse as a representation of a digital “community of practice”—a sociolinguistic idea that language primes and reinforces attitudes through both performative usage and mere exposure within the members of the community. I hope to extend this conversation to explore the ways that such priming is complicated when users form group solidarity around commonplaces—rhetorical topics of shared understanding.