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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Gendered Shackles of the Would-Be “Madame President”: A Rhetorical Analysis of Hillary Clinton's Campaign Communication during the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary
by Schnoebelen, James M., Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2010, 287; 3444444
Abstract (Summary)

This study analyzes Hillary Rodham Clinton's key speeches and debate performances during the 2008 Democrat presidential primary. Specifically, a rhetorical criticism of Clinton's discourse, utilizing Bitzer's “rhetorical situation,” indicates that Clinton's discourse was highly constrained by her gender, and supports the theory that women candidates experience tangible double binds. Specifically, Clinton's rhetoric was hindered in terms of her audience because of her initial status as the frontrunner, the erosion of her female voting base, her lack of response to sexism, her use of negative campaigning, and her appeals to super delegates. The exigencies identified in Clinton's discourse reflect tangible, gendered double binds as she approached the historic nature of her candidacy, universal health care, the war in Iraq, and her general election strategy. Finally, the analysis indicates her attempts to establish experience, her negative reputation, Obama's key campaign strategies, and Bill Clinton's presence on the trail created constraints.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Carlin, Diana B.
Commitee: Banwart, Mary C., Childers, Jay P., Harris, Scott L., Lieberman, Alice
School: University of Kansas
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biographies, Womens studies, Political science, Rhetoric
Keywords: Campaign, Clinton, Hillary, Debate, Gender, Presidential primary, Rhetoric, Speech
Publication Number: 3444444
ISBN: 978-1-124-52249-4
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