Social Accountability, Ethics, and the Occupy Wall Street Protests

Journal of Business Ethics 180 (1):17-31 (2021)
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Abstract

This study examines the 3.5 m+ English-language original tweets that occurred during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests. Starting from previous research, we analyze how character terms such as “the banker,” “politician,” “the teaparty,” “GOP,” and “the corporation,” as well as concept terms such as “ethics,” “fairness,” “morals,” “justice,” and “democracy” were used by individual participants to respond to the Occupy Wall Street events. These character and concept terms not only allowed individuals to take an ethical stance but also accumulated into a citizen’s narrative about social accountability. The analysis illustrates how the centrality of the different concepts and characters in the conversation changed over time as well as how the concepts ethics, morals, fairness, justice, and democracy participated within the conversation, helping to amplify the ethical attributes of different characters. These findings contribute to our understanding of how demands for social accountability are articulated and change over time.

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