Cancel Culture: A Qualitative Analysis of the Social Media Practice of Canceling
Cancel culture is a pervasive and unique aspect of social media. While holding several definitions, cancel culture is often referred to as “a form of cultural boycott”, “the removal of a figures power or their cultural capital”, and “public shaming” (Herzog, 2019, Asmelash, 2019, Ross, 2019). The intent of canceling someone is to remove someone from a position of power in order to block them from being influential or relevant. Being canceled is usually the result of an action, statement, or performance that is viewed as problematic. With the creation of new language, symbols, groups, communities, and system of governance, canceling is a culture derived and nurtured through social media. Performing a case study on the cancelation of actor Kevin Spacey, this research uses an interpretivist qualitative approach to analyze Tweets through content analysis in order to determine how cancel culture functions, and how it is communicated on social media.