“90% Sadness and 10% Schadenfreude”: Construction and Uptake of Nuanced Stances on Twitter
Moreno, Mario Alberto
De Fina, Anna
This study examines the construction and uptake of what I refer to as “nuanced stances” in interactions on Twitter regarding points of ideological contention in the context of the Covid-related death of Herman Cain. Drawing on De Fina’s (2021) concept of “narratives as practice”, I build on Du Bois’ (2007) stance framework to analyze seven responses to a tweet from the New York Times announcing Cain’s death, as well as the contributions of subsequent discourse participants. My analysis of these tweets demonstrates that an individual’s stance can emerge and develop throughout consecutive utterances by use of grammatical structures, and that interactants who express nuanced stances situate them alongside explanatory or contextual information. I also examine how subsequent participants respond to this additional text when shifting or maintaining the stance object. I show how interactants respond to the content and structure of previous stancetakers and utilize a range of affordances to produce a variety of stances. My analysis illustrates that the construction of tweets which express nuanced stances can directly impact the content and tone of subsequent discourse participants. This study adds qualitative research to the study of stance in interaction on social media, presents implications for decreasing polarization and increasing civility in online discourse, and contributes to the growing literature of Covid-related research.
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