Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Globalization of compassion: Women in the foreground of cultures of peace
by Tivona, Elissa J., Ph.D., Colorado State University, 2008, 175; 3346499
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative document analysis examines nine core rhetorical acts featured in the foreground of mediated public discourse (print and broadcast media) contrasting them to rhetorical acts of nine global “peacewomen” presented in 1000 PeaceWomen Across the Globe. This text is a compilation of the personal narratives of 1000 women nominated collectively for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. I constructed Local Focus Dyads, juxtaposing one woman's narrative from each global region with a first ranked news story for the same region, as identified through a systematic LexisNexis search. As a result of my analysis I derived a theoretical framework contrasting foreground and background rhetoric around overarching themes of progress, human security, and sustained agency. I found assumptions and news judgments dominating the foreground of public discourse glut communication delivery channels, crowding out clear depictions and focused understanding of alternate, peace-building rhetorical performance being regularly enacted in the background, often by women.

The results of the study are discussed in terms of new possibilities for peace construction that emerge by “racking focus” and bringing women's background narratives to the foreground of public discourse. In Weaving Cultures of Peace—Tapestries in the Making I discuss six themes threading throughout the background rhetorical acts I studied. These new possibilities include: mending wounds and alleviating suffering; weaving social safety nets; crafting cultures of conflict resolution and “repurposing” cultures of violence; discerning innovative patterns; knitting together local and global; and affixing badges of honor to peace construction.

My findings are consistent with other academic research and provide compelling possibilities for further investigation. From a journalistic perspective, I imagine action research raising questions of whether alternate news stories, featuring rhetorical acts central to cultures of peace (especially those enacted by women), contribute to changing the perceptions of media consumers? In Communications Studies terms, I envision in-depth studies continuing to clarify and articulate rhetoric of peace construction, grounded in a larger dataset of peacewomen narratives. As an educator, I wonder about our responsibilities for re-adjusting a lens on the world to more accurately portray the full bandwidth of human performance, not just the narrow spectrum currently featured in headlines.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Banning, James
School: Colorado State University
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Journalism, Womens studies, Social studies education, International law
Keywords: Compassion, Globalization, International development, Media studies, News media, Peace, Peace studies, Rhetoric, Rhetorical media analysis, Women, Women's studies
Publication Number: 3346499
ISBN: 978-1-109-01503-4
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