Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Communication, MA

Committee Chair

Leichty, Greg

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Freberg, Karen

Committee Member

Freberg, Karen

Committee Member

Carini, Robert

Author's Keywords

Communitas; Liminality; YouTube; Online


Electronic villages (Computer networks); Computer networks--Social aspects; Online social networks; Internet--Social aspects; Tornadoes--Indiana--Henryville


This paper serves as a critical case in analyzing the emergence of communitas in online discussions. Although communitas, or the unstructured community that often emerges in the wake of major societal upheavals, has often been documented in a common geographic setting, little research has been done into the emergence of communitas in online or computer-mediated settings. Determining whether or not communitas emerges in the comment streams attached to YouTube videos related to the tornadoes that struck Henryville, Ind., on March 2, 2012, will serve as an indicator that communitas will emerge in other online channels as well. This project consisted of coding those comment streams to identify the emergence of communitas as well as determine the effect of communitas on subsequent indicators of negative and positive emotion. Analysis indicated that communitas did emerge and inhibited indicators of negative emotion.

Included in

Communication Commons