The TEA Party Patriots arose in 2010 following a series of socio-political events: the housing crises, the passage of the Affordable Health Care For America Act, and an increasing public outcry from right-wing pundits on network news stations. After a "call" for a Chicago TEA Party by reporter Rick Santelli of CNBC, the TEA Party was launched. In 2013, the organization consisted of over 600 chapters nationwide. This dissertation uses the case study of the TEA Party Patriots to examine sentiment pools, framing, identity, and commitment in a social movement organization. As a large, geographically expansive organization, the TEA Party is host to five distinct activist types, which can be thought of as sentiment pools internal to an organization: the Christian Conservative, the Constitutionalist, the Reformed Liberal, the Libertarian, and the Conspiracy Theorist. All five of these sentiment pools have distinct understandings of the role of the state and the rights of citizenship. They also have divergent explanations for social problems such as racial inequality. The TEA Party organization, then, employs frame alignment strategies to increase the movement organization's collective identity and subsequently foster activist commitment. This is primarily done through frame amplification, promoting the values that all five sentiment pools share: the belief that they are fatherly citizens dedicated to saving childlike Americans who are preyed upon by the villainous left, the three pillars of the organization, and racial colorblindness
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major:Sociology. Advisors: Dr. Ronald Aminzade, Dr. David Pellow. 1 computer file (PDF); v. 221 pages, appendices A-B.
Enhancing activist commitment through frame alignment and the amplification of collective identity: how the Tea Party unites its divergent membership.
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