Knitting As Politics: How One Traditionally Non-Political Community Engages With Political Discourse
Hamilton, Heidi E
This discursive linguistic study examines how indie yarn dyers in a knitting community on Instagram position themselves in relation to a political ban. In June of 2019, a popular knitting pattern website, Ravelry, released a ban on all pro-Trump rhetoric on the site, including in patterns and in forums. Members of the knitting community flocked to Instagram to support or protest this ban. In this study, I explore how small business owners (specifically yarn dyers) reacted to this Ravelry ban on Instagram. This study examines how these yarn dyers navigate multiple positions (Harre and van Lagenhove 1999), and intertextually reference (Bakhtin 1981) the Ravelry ban in their Instagram posts. I also study how these dyers use entextualization, or the placement of source text within a new context (Bauman & Briggs 1990), to place aspects of the Ravelry ban in their own posts, and ultimately reframe discourse on the larger political ban onto a more personal level through stance, position, and entextualization.This study is guided by the following questions: how do the members of non-political community position themselves when addressing political concerns? Furthermore, how do yarn dyers use entextualization to respond to and reframe a political ban? By exploring these questions, this research aims to contribute to understanding how political issues are negotiated on a public social media platform, and concludes by proposing that in this context, politics may be discussed through a personal moral discourse lens.
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