Theses Doctoral

Through the Eye of a Needle: Craftivism as an Emerging Mode of Civic Engagement and Cultural Participation

Markus, Sandra

There has been a grassroots revival of craftivism leading up to, and following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This qualitative dissertation explores the experiences of women within three craftivist groups to facilitate a deeper understanding of their conceptions of craft, activism and feminism, the salience of older women within these communities, and how the affordances of new media are potentially reshaping craftivism. Drawing on interview data, as well as offline and online participant observation, this study found that craftivists have highly diverse personal trajectories and understandings of feminism and activism, that older women—many with a lifelong history of activism—play a significant role in craftivist groups, and that participation in craftivism, supported through extensive use of social media and online communication, provides a gateway to civic expression and engagement. Beyond deepening our understanding of craftivism in the current political climate, this research makes significant contributions to scholarship on participatory culture, activism, and civic engagement. While these bodies of research have traditionally been youth-centric, this dissertation adds value by shedding light on the participatory practices of older women in creative online sites.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Thesis Advisors
Literat, Ioana
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 6, 2019