Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bradley A. Serber


This dissertation explores three youth digital social movements, which have taken place throughout the twenty-first century: the Invisible Children movement of Uganda, the Bring Back Our Girls movement of Nigeria, and the Never Again movement of the United States. Using rhetorical analysis of each movement, I explore the relationship each has with youth, digital, social movement, and activism. Specifically, I seek to answer the following research questions: (1) with youth in the forefront of each movement, how have the movements utilized affective rhetoric to promote and gain support, and (2) how have youth digital social movements evolved throughout the twenty-first century?I argue that key components of youth digital social activism include the ability to get movement followers to connect on an emotional level with the cause of the movement in order to get them to move offline and act outside of the digital realm and providing specific, detailed steps for movement followers to avoid getting stuck in the online vortex that can lead to a version of slacktivism. Ultimately, this research provides insight for future social activists and movement leaders to learn from and adapt accordingly, and important areas for future scholars to focus their attention.