Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Isaac West


Using Facebook from a theater of war provides a particularly unique vantage point from which to study the broader shift in our communication environment. While many communication technologies began in warzones for mission purposes--connecting planes to the ground, connecting and coordinating strikes and ambushes, reporting needs for medics, and so on, warzones are not known for connecting the war front and the home front. Thus the culture of perpetual contact ushered in by social media technologies like Facebook collides with a situation quintessentially associated with a lack of contact. Surprisingly this point has received little scholarly attention.

This dissertation examines the way US troops use Facebook from a theater of war to narrate their experiences to their civilian network members, to each other, and to themselves. The project explores how US troops define and are defined by existing discourses of war; how they shape and are shaped by technological advancements, and how all these relationships are changing what "war" means in this millennium. Data include 20 semi-structured in-person interviews, which took place on active bases in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton, California. Data also include the field notes from those visits as well as field notes and screen captures of Facebook observations.


Communication, Digital Culture, Memes, Sharing, Social Media, US troops/War


xii, 326 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 301-326).


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Copyright © 2014 Lisa Ellen Silvestri

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Communication Commons