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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The 2012 presidential campaign's use of ideographic rhetoric involving the American Dream
by Day, Ashleigh M., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2013, 100; 1537760
Abstract (Summary)

This paper aims to examine the use of ideographs that represent the American Dream myth within the rhetoric of the 2012 presidential election. Five speech events are examined from the two primary candidates: Former Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Within these five speech event analyses, McGee’s (1980) concept of ideograph is the primary methodology in addition to Fisher’s (1984) narrative paradigm. After ideographic analysis of each candidate’s speech events, implications will be discussed about their political ideologies that are implied from each candidate’s ideographs as well as if they redefined or affirmed any notions of the American Dream myth. Additionally, implications will be drawn about the success (or not) of each candidate’s use of ideographs that represent the American Dream and what their narrative that incorporates the American Dream myth implies for the American public. This analysis finds that Obama’s use of ideographs that relate to the American Dream represent a version that is more egalitarian, focused on civic virtue, and collectivism, whereas Romney’s use of ideographs that represent the American Dream represent more materialistic components, individualism, and restrict access to specific demographics. With these two competing ideological versions of the American Dream, Obama’s proved to resonate with more Americans, as he was reelected as president. Finally, the concluding section of this paper discusses the reality of the American Dream and proposes possibly questions/directions for future rhetorical and critical research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Short, Calvin Brant
Commitee: Schutten, Julie, Umphrey, Laura
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Marketing, Communication, Political science
Keywords: 2012 presidential campaign, Ideograph, Obama, Barack, Romney, Mitt
Publication Number: 1537760
ISBN: 978-1-303-09596-2
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