Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Jessica Grieser

Committee Members

Lisa King, Sean Morey


In this thesis, I examine how members of online vegan communities construct and perform epistemic stance through exploiting the affordances of alphabetic computer-mediated communication (CMC) to remediate paralinguistic features. The data are taken from two exchanges across two different online platforms: Facebook and Reddit. Working within the constraints of alphabetic CMC and the affordances of their respective platforms, interactants discuss vegan activism in ways that mimic traditional oral communication. Utilizing unique linguistic constructions and features of CMC such as emoji and emoticons, interactants are able to clearly perform their affective and epistemic stances as well as demonstrate what McCulloch calls online fluency. As the exchanges take place within online vegan communities, interactants are able to discuss, evaluate, and critique vegan activists without having to justify or defend veganism as an ideology or practice. This allows for interactants to position themselves around a clear and identifiable stance-object, while simultaneously co-constructing a joint stance. Comparing the linguistic choices of users on both Facebook and Reddit allows for a clear picture of how users leverage the affordances and work within the constraints of both mediums to accomplish shared goals.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."