Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nabil Echchaibi

Second Advisor

Deborah Whitehead

Third Advisor

Shu-Ling Berrgreen


In the summer of 2012, the Chick-fil-A controversy took over the media. At its center was an article featuring Dan Cathy, COO of Chick-fil-A and accusations of homophobia. This controversy broadened to include activist on both sides and incorporate a wide range of activist tools. Through a case study of this controversy, a few items are made obvious. The most prominent is that boycotting is no longer likely to be a successful mode of activism. Rather buycotting, using purchasing power to reward companies, is likely to become the dominate mode of activism moving forward. More broadly, in this thesis I develop that consumerism is a space for identity building and interaction in our society. I intend that consumption generates a space for negotiation of meaning and values within a consumer society. This is a space through which consumers can make reflective choices about companies and actions that they support or oppose. Within this case, there were clear instances of both individual and communal identity construction and narrative building, as well as negotiation between political and religious narratives. Consumer action allowed people to express their support or disdain for Chick-fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage. This has highlighted the fact that economic action is integral to activism within a consumer society.