Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Robert Futrell

Second Committee Member

David Dickens

Third Committee Member

Barb Brents

Fourth Committee Member

David Henry

Number of Pages



Social movements scholars have long studied the role of identity, both individual and collective, in regard to social movement formation, mobilization, and persistence (Snow et al. 1986, Kellner 1995, Darnovsly, Epstein, and Flacks 1995, Jasper 1997, Cerulo 1997, Bernstein 1997; 2002, and Futrell, Simi, and Gottschalk 2006). Advances in technology have made the Internet, and particularly social media, a powerful piece in the activist’s toolkit. While scholars have researched what the Internet means for different social movement organizations, there are many questions to address. I examine the social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) of the pro-policing social movement organization Blue Lives Matter to better understand how self-identified supporters use these platforms to develop collective identity, achieve movement goals, and how they experience their participation on the platforms (individual identity). I also contribute to social movement scholarship by analyzing a case that has escaped most researchers’ attention—Blue Lives Matter pro-policing activism to counter Black Lives Matter mobilization. Specifically, I use qualitative content analysis to examine two of the official Blue Lives Matter social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram. I also draw from 21 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with self-identified Blue Lives Matter supporters, and one organizational leader. I describe how Blue Lives Matter and their supporters use their social media in a variety of meaningful ways including as a platform to vent their frustrations about what they perceive as a war on police. On Blue Lives Matter social media spaces supporters create a pro-policing community to share their ideologies, grieve fallen officers, and bond over their distain for those perceived to be anti-police. I also find that while on these platforms, both Blue Lives Matter and their supporters use “identity deployment” (Bernstein 1997; 2002; 2005; 2009) to convey their messages that police officers are superheroes in our society, and at the same time, they are quite human(e). I conclude by discussing the implications of my research and provide suggestions for future studies in the related area of social movements, identity, and the Internet and social media).


Blue Lives Matter; Collective Behavior; Identity; Internet Mobilization; Social Media; Social Movements



File Format


File Size

163000 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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Included in

Sociology Commons