Web-page rhetoric utilized by social movements



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Texas Tech University


Twenty-five years ago the Stonewall Riots spurred a major social movement regarding gay rights in the United States. Groups within the American Gay and Lesbian Movement, which specifically address the issue of rights, have attempted to liberate this minority from laws and societal attitudes. Numerous attempts to claim legal rights for the gay population have had marginal success. Since President Clinton took office in 1992, the movement has gained public awareness but has failed to claim any additional federal rights through legislation. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has used a variety of methods to tackle the issue of federal gay rights provisions since 1973.

The increased use of computer technology as a medium of communication in our society provides a new rhetorical venue for movement groups such as NGLTF. They have utilized the World Wide Web as a recruitment and organizational tool since 1996.

The main goals of this study are to amplify computer mediated environments as new rhetorical forms or venues for social movements and secondly to explore how the NGLTF web page can be utilized to perform social movement functions. Thus, the research question guiding this study is "How does the NGLTF web page serve the functions of legitimization, recruitment, and cohesion?"