Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Committee Member

Dr. David Blakesley, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia Haynes

Committee Member

Dr. Erin Ash

Committee Member

Dr. David Reinking


This dissertation examines the intersection of rhetorical studies with social media studies, investigates the particular use of social media in the 2014 Indonesian presidential election, and address relevant theories such as Kenneth Burke's dramatistic perspective, Henry Jenkin's participatory culture, and Douglas Eyman's digital rhetoric. I focus on the rhetorical principle to analyse Indonesia's 2014 presidential election by applying the following selected examples of identification categories: 1) The Common Ground Technique, 2) Identification through antithesis, 3) The assumed or transcendent 'we.' The two candidates running for the 2014 Indonesian presidential election were Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo, and Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. The first candidate tends to personify these following traits: nationalist, firm and superior leader. The second candidate manages to represent these following characters: modest and populist, the ordinary people leader. Subianto promoting “anti-discrimination” and Widodo arguing for “pluralism,” Subianto firmly defended his nationalism, while Widodo emphasised his support of diversity. From analyzing the text element, the visual and audiovisual elements, and the rhetorical situation from the above three social media artifacts, I could firmly determine that the first candidate aims to reach the older generations, which includes: 1) The Patriotic generations, and 2) The Baby Boomer generations. Meanwhile, the second candidate sought to reach the younger generations, which includes: 1) The Millennial generation, 2) The First-Time voters, and 3) The Commoners. Based on the analysis of Indonesia's two presidential candidates' Facebook page, the dissertation a) shows how a rhetorical situation is created by establishing common ground through social networking sites; b) reveals the set of texts on identification performed in political uses of social media includes the politically motivated common substance, and sometimes unconscious division; c) understands the symbolic of semi-conscious motives includes religious values and properties, and of course power and wealth; d) shows how the rhetorical analysis of Facebook politics in Indonesia's election implies to use religion and race issue to gain political support.



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