Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Karla Kitalong

Committee Member 1

Ronald Strickland

Committee Member 2

Marika Seigel

Committee Member 3

Beatrice Smith

Committee Member 4

Chanon Adsanatham


This dissertation lies at the intersection of social sciences and humanities. It aims to examine digital rhetoric of cosmopolitanism of people from a marginalized culture as situated in the context of a transnational experience. I view that this rhetoric encompasses digital practices of cosmopolitanism or cosmopolitan repertoire, a set of skills or strategies used in communication via social media in everyday life. I also argue that this rhetoric is connected to other elements in its broader social and cultural networks.

To illustrate these ideas, a case study of Thai students at Michigan Technological University in the United States is conducted to investigate their digital practices as they engage with the Other on social media. The final goal of the study is to identify the strategies of digital practices that might be used to negotiate or resist power embedded in the digital environment. To reach this goal, this study proposes using the interdisciplinary approach as the methodology.

The methodological framework of this project is designed by consolidating various perspectives from new cosmopolitanism and digital rhetoric with a postmodernist lens as a background. The highlight of this framework is an application of the cosmopolitan ontological framework and the ecological perspective to study digital practices on social media in the context of participants. Within this framework, several qualitative methods are employed for data collection and analysis, namely interviews, participant observations, online observations, and rhetorical analysis.

Overall, digital technologies like social media play an important role in establishing and maintaining relationships with people from other cultures. In this context, participants perform their cosmopolitanism in various types of cosmopolitan relationships by relying on a number of digital practices. These practices can be synthesized to form a cosmopolitan repertoire comprising digital literacy skills, multimodal communication skills, language skills, critical thinking skills, rhetoric, and ethics. The rhetorical analysis reveals that participants’ digital practices of cosmopolitanism are influenced by power embedded in some perceived factors in their ecological boundaries. Participants also rest on cosmopolitan repertoire in their negotiation of power.

In its contributions, apart from some theoretical and pedagogical implications, this project also helps to shape the idea of digital rhetoric of cosmopolitanism by proposing a definition and a model to explain its ontological dimension. These contributions can lead to more understanding of digital rhetoric of cosmopolitanism and call for further study in this scholarship in the future.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons