Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
This research interrogates how solidarities are formed within communities as external anti-Black racism and class dynamics put pressure on communities who are grappling with internal division based on generational differences. In my research I’ve learned that social media provides an avenue for community connection through a realignment of values, but simultaneously has the ability to fracture these bonds. Some social scientific literature theorizes that successful protest is drawn from the teachings of the older generation. However, I have found that younger generations play a key role in creating and maintaining successful protest in the midst of division. To better understand this division, I draw from decolonizing and Marxian theorists (Mbembe 2003, Marx 1969) as well as theorists who discuss race and racism and class in their works (Fields and Fields 2012, Taylor 2016, Shange 2019) as they deconstruct power relations.
My research is based in the small majority African American community Brown Grove located north of Richmond, Virginia. Specifically, I have observed how community members, who had recently lost their battle to stop a large Wegmans distribution center, interpret division within their own community, and the ways in which they themselves have tried to overcome this division. Community members tell me that using social media creates new possibilities for overcoming internal differences. Despite the power of social media to unite a community, I find that solidarity alone doesn’t necessarily create a successful movement. Rather, I argue that successful protest originates not only from community unity, but through a reevaluation of values and realignment towards collective interests within and outside of the community, as community members aim for possible change.
Ashworth, Julia, "Solidarity in Protest: A Case Study of the Brown Grove Community in Virginia" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 2000.
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