Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Communication, Technology, and Society

Committee Member

Dr. Darren Linvill, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Jimmy Sanderson

Committee Member

Dr. Erin Ash

Abstract

Previous research has shown that Twitter has become a place where cultural discussions can occur and that Twitter has the potential to undermine hierarchies of authority and power by affording a voice to those who are not heard in the mainstream media. Becky Hammon's hiring as the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA provided a rich opportunity to utilize Twitter as a way to study perceptions of Hammon throughout her first year on the NBA sidelines and specifically, as a way to hear both mainstream and marginalized voices. Radian6 was used to collect tweets mentioning "Becky Hammon" throughout her first year in the NBA and the data was analyzed utilizing a thematic analysis. The results suggested that while many sports fans and individuals on Twitter were supportive and encouraging of Hammon as an NBA coach, resistance to women to coaching men was prevalent and fueled by a reliance on traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Furthermore, this research displayed how Twitter is an important space for both cultural conversations and dialogue but also has the ability to be a tool of change, advocacy and progress.

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