Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Reed College of Media


Reed College of Media

Committee Chair

Bob Britten.


This thesis investigated how discourses developed in blog's comment threads work to promote the development of a radicalized public sphere. Using Dahlberg's (2007) concept of radicalized public sphere as an alternative to the mainstream, largely media-controlled, Habermasian public sphere, this study investigated how comments from and worked to promote or inhibit radicalized public sphere development through the use of discursive radicalism and inter-discursive contestation. Ideological criticism, in combination with the constant comparative method, was employed to code each comment and develop a system of identification for each type of comment based on the ideology it presented, and the rhetorical strategy used to convey its ideology. Coded comments were grouped into categories, and those categories grouped into broader categories, until a dominant form of commenting was identified.;The results from this study showed that discourse-promoting comments, which met the definition of discursive radicalism provided by Dahlberg (2007), dominated the comments on both blogs. Furthermore, it was found that normalizing comments were present on the comment threads, but did not dominate the discourse. These results suggest that radicalized public sphere discourse is functioning in the comment threads of the blogs in this investigation. Further studies are necessary, however, to gain a better understanding of the nature of commenting and the development of a radicalized public sphere on the numerous and diverse blog sites that populate the Internet.