Political Activism in Pop Culture

Farah Jirjis

Student thesis: Master thesis


Celebrities become more active in raising awareness on disturbing issues and advocating the needs of unprivileged communities. In terms of racial inequality, Beyoncé created a comprehensive textual and visual content that reveals the depth of racial inequality and calls for action. Beyoncé’s “Formation” has met dual criticism being emphasized as a political activist versus blamed for pursuit after personal benefit. Current research presents an analysis of the textual and visual content in order to find out the true intentions of the artist. The research question is “In terms of textual and visual analysis of the text, video, and performance of the song "Formation," how does Beyoncé establish herself as a political activist?” The analysis includes hermeneutic approach with the use of hermeneutic circle to break down the information into symbols and reveal the context behind lyrics and visual messages. Theoretical background on political engagement includes the features of musical activism and embodied political argument. These ideas allowed drawing parallels between theory and Beyoncé’s practice. The research concludes that Beyoncé’s “Formation” is a well-developed three-step strategy. The lyrics have a cultural importance to draw the attention of target audience. The video is a visual footage of social injustice that articulates the mood of dissatisfaction. Finally, the live performance has a clear political statement with the use of a wide range of points of political importance. In a gradual and structured rising tendency, the three-step strategy proceeds from an individual level of influence to a collective form of influence on a multimillion audience.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages60