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Crucified Christians, marked men, and wanted whites: victimhood and conservative counterpublicity

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This dissertation explores the rhetorical significance of persecution claims produced by demonstrably powerful publics in contemporary American culture. This ideological criticism is driven by several related research questions. First, how do members of apparently powerful groups (men, whites, and Christians)

This dissertation explores the rhetorical significance of persecution claims produced by demonstrably powerful publics in contemporary American culture. This ideological criticism is driven by several related research questions. First, how do members of apparently powerful groups (men, whites, and Christians) come to see themselves as somehow unjustly marginalized, persecuted, or powerless? Second, how are these discourses related to the public sphere and counterpublicity? I argue that, despite startling similarities, these texts studied here are best understood not as counterpublicity but as a strategy of containment available to hegemonic publics. Because these rhetorics of persecution often seek to forestall movements toward pluralism and restorative justice, the analysis forwarded in this dissertation offers important contributions to ongoing theoretical discussions in the fields of public sphere theory and critical cultural theory and practical advice for progressive political activism and critical pedagogy.

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2011

Representing sight and sound in design media: a cyclical time-based model

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As digital technology promises immediacy and interactivity in communication, sight and sound in motion graphics has expanded the range of design possibilities in advertising, social networking, and telecommunication beyond the visual realm. The experience of seeing has been greatly enriched

As digital technology promises immediacy and interactivity in communication, sight and sound in motion graphics has expanded the range of design possibilities in advertising, social networking, and telecommunication beyond the visual realm. The experience of seeing has been greatly enriched by sound as visual solutions become dynamic and multi-dimensional. The ability to record and transfer sight and sound with new media has granted the designer more control in manipulating a viewer's experience of time and space. This control allows time-based form to become the foundation that establishes many interactive, multisensory and interdisciplinary applications. Is conventional design theory for print media adequate to effectively approach time-based form? If not, what is the core element that is required to balance the static and dynamic aspects of time in new media? Should time-related theories and methodologies from other disciplines be adopted into our design principles? If so, how would this knowledge be integrated? How can this experience in time be effectively transferred to paper? Unless the role of the time dimension in sight is operationally deconstructed and retained with sound, it is very challenging to control the design in this fugitive form. Time activation refers to how time and the perception of time can be manipulated for design and communication purposes. Sound, as a shortcut to the active time design element, not only encapsulates the structure of its "invisible" time-based form, but also makes changes in time conspicuously measurable and comparable. Two experiments reflect the influence of sound on imagery, a slideshow and video, as well as how the dynamics in time are represented across all design media. A cyclical time-based model is established to reconnect the conventional design principles learned in print media with time-based media. This knowledge helps expand static images to motion and encapsulate motion in stasis. The findings provide creative methods for approaching visualization, interactivity, and design education.

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2011

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Analyzing the dynamics of communication in online social networks

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This thesis deals with the analysis of interpersonal communication dynamics in online social networks and social media. Our central hypothesis is that communication dynamics between individuals manifest themselves via three key aspects: the information that is the content of communication,

This thesis deals with the analysis of interpersonal communication dynamics in online social networks and social media. Our central hypothesis is that communication dynamics between individuals manifest themselves via three key aspects: the information that is the content of communication, the social engagement i.e. the sociological framework emergent of the communication process, and the channel i.e. the media via which communication takes place. Communication dynamics have been of interest to researchers from multi-faceted domains over the past several decades. However, today we are faced with several modern capabilities encompassing a host of social media websites. These sites feature variegated interactional affordances, ranging from blogging, micro-blogging, sharing media elements as well as a rich set of social actions such as tagging, voting, commenting and so on. Consequently, these communication tools have begun to redefine the ways in which we exchange information, our modes of social engagement, and mechanisms of how the media characteristics impact our interactional behavior. The outcomes of this research are manifold. We present our contributions in three parts, corresponding to the three key organizing ideas. First, we have observed that user context is key to characterizing communication between a pair of individuals. However interestingly, the probability of future communication seems to be more sensitive to the context compared to the delay, which appears to be rather habitual. Further, we observe that diffusion of social actions in a network can be indicative of future information cascades; that might be attributed to social influence or homophily depending on the nature of the social action. Second, we have observed that different modes of social engagement lead to evolution of groups that have considerable predictive capability in characterizing external-world temporal occurrences, such as stock market dynamics as well as collective political sentiments. Finally, characterization of communication on rich media sites have shown that conversations that are deemed "interesting" appear to have consequential impact on the properties of the social network they are associated with: in terms of degree of participation of the individuals in future conversations, thematic diffusion as well as emergent cohesiveness in activity among the concerned participants in the network. Based on all these outcomes, we believe that this research can make significant contribution into a better understanding of how we communicate online and how it is redefining our collective sociological behavior.

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2011

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Trickster dialogics: : a method for articulating cultural archetypes from 'Q' to performance art

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Simultaneously culture heroes and stumbling buffoons, Tricksters bring cultural tools to the people and make the world more habitable. There are common themes in these figures that remain fruitful for the advancement of culture, theory, and critical praxis. This dissertation

Simultaneously culture heroes and stumbling buffoons, Tricksters bring cultural tools to the people and make the world more habitable. There are common themes in these figures that remain fruitful for the advancement of culture, theory, and critical praxis. This dissertation develops a method for opening a dialogue with Trickster figures. It draws from established literature to present a newly conceived and more flexible Trickster archetype. This archetype is more than a collection of traits; it builds on itself processually to form a method for analysis. The critical Trickster archetype includes the fundamental act of crossing borders; the twin ontologies of ambiguity and liminality; the particular tactics of humor, duplicity, and shape shifting; and the overarching cultural roles of culture hero and stumbling buffoon. Running parallel to each archetypal element, though, are Trickster's overarching critical spirit of Quixotic utopianism and underlying telos of manipulating human relationships. The character 'Q' from Star Trek: The Next Generation is used to demonstrate the critical Trickster archetype. To be more useful for critical cultural studies, Trickster figures must also be connected to their socio-cultural and historical contexts. Thus, this dissertation offers a second set of analytics, a dialogical method that connects Tricksters to the worlds they make more habitable. This dialogical method, developed from the work of M. M. Bakhtin and others, consists of three analytical tools: utterance, intertextuality, and chronotope. Utterance bounds the text for analysis. Intertextuality connects the utterance, the text, to its context. Chronotope suggests particular spatio-temporal relationships that help reveal the cultural significance of a dialogical performance. Performance artists Andre Stitt, Ann Liv Young, and Steven Leyba are used to demonstrate the method of Trickster dialogics. A concluding discussion of Trickster's unique chronotope reveals its contributions to conceptions of utopia and futurity. This dissertation offers theoretical advancements about the significance and tactics of subversive communication practices. It offers a new and unique method for cultural and performative analyses that can be expanded into different kinds of dialogics. Trickster dialogics can also be used generatively to direct and guide the further development of performative praxis.

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2013

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Conveying controversial science: Sam Harris's "The Moral Landscape" and popular science communication

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The academic literature on science communication widely acknowledges a problem: science communication between experts and lay audiences is important, but it is not done well. General audience popular science books, however, carry a reputation for clear science communication and are

The academic literature on science communication widely acknowledges a problem: science communication between experts and lay audiences is important, but it is not done well. General audience popular science books, however, carry a reputation for clear science communication and are understudied in the academic literature. For this doctoral dissertation, I utilize Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape, a general audience science book on the particularly thorny topic of neuroscientific approaches to morality, as a case-study to explore the possibility of using general audience science books as models for science communication more broadly. I conduct a literary analysis of the text that delimits the scope of its project, its intended audience, and the domains of science to be communicated. I also identify seven literary aspects of the text: three positive aspects that facilitate clarity and four negative aspects that interfere with lay public engagement. I conclude that The Moral Landscape relies on an assumed knowledge base and intuitions of its audience that cannot reasonably be expected of lay audiences; therefore, it cannot properly be construed as popular science communication. It nevertheless contains normative lessons for the broader science project, both in literary aspects to be salvaged and literary aspects and concepts to consciously be avoided and combated. I note that The Moral Landscape's failings can also be taken as an indication that typical descriptions of science communication offer under-detailed taxonomies of both audiences for science communication and the varieties of science communication aimed at those audiences. Future directions of study include rethinking appropriate target audiences for science literacy projects and developing a more discriminating taxonomy of both science communication and lay publics.

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2013

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Organizing compassionate communication: pragmatic fieldwork with nonprofits and homeless young adults

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In an effort to understand and improve interactions between homeless young adults and the nonprofit organizations that serve them, I engaged in a long-term, qualitative, participatory action project. My project involved input from homeless young adults, nonprofit organizations, volunteers/staff, and

In an effort to understand and improve interactions between homeless young adults and the nonprofit organizations that serve them, I engaged in a long-term, qualitative, participatory action project. My project involved input from homeless young adults, nonprofit organizations, volunteers/staff, and communication scholarship. While taking a community-engaged, participatory, and qualitative approach, I focused on the interactions between youth and the organizations. Particularly, I drew on homeless young adult experiences to inform services and illuminate compassion within the context of the nonprofit organizations. In the end, this project extends the individual model of compassion to include presence, identifies potential ruptures in the process of compassion, and models compassionate dynamics in organizations. It also articulates a method I call pragmatic fieldwork, a qualitative and pragmatic approach to participatory action research. Each of these outcomes speaks to varied community interests, from theoretically nuancing scholarly models of compassion to informing policy in the interest of more effectively and compassionately serving homeless youth.

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2013

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The paracultural imaginary: cultural appropriation, heterophily and the diffusion of religious/spiritual traditions in intercultural communication

Description

Buddhism is thriving in US-America, attracting many converts with college and post-graduate degrees as well as selling all forms of popular culture. Yet little is known about the communication dynamics behind the diffusion of Buddhist religious/spiritual traditions into the United

Buddhism is thriving in US-America, attracting many converts with college and post-graduate degrees as well as selling all forms of popular culture. Yet little is known about the communication dynamics behind the diffusion of Buddhist religious/spiritual traditions into the United States. Religion is an underexplored area of intercultural communication studies (Nakayama & Halualani, 2010) and this study meets the lacuna in critical intercultural communication scholarship by investigating the communication practices of US-Americans adopting Asian Buddhist religious/spiritual traditions. Ethnographic observations were conducted at events where US-Americans gathered to learn about and practice Buddhist religious/spiritual traditions. In addition, interviews were conducted with US-Americans who were both learning and teaching Buddhism. The grounded theory method was used for data analysis. The findings of this study describe an emerging theory of the paracultural imaginary -- the space of imagining that one could be better than who one was today by taking on the cultural vestments of (an)Other. The embodied communication dynamics of intercultural exchange that take place when individuals adopt the rituals and philosophies of a foreign culture are described. In addition, a self-reflexive narrative of my struggle with the silence of witnessing the paracultural imaginary is weaved into the analysis. The findings from this study extend critical theorizing on cultural identity, performativity, and cultural appropriation in the diffusion of traditions between cultural groups. In addition, the study addresses the complexity of speaking out against the subtle prejudices in encountered in intercultural communication.

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2013

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Hispanic entrepreneurs' anticipatory work-life socialization: conceptual analysis of narrative accounts

Description

This narrative study sought to understand the socialization experiences of Hispanic entrepreneurs. While several studies have explored socialization and work-life wellness, few have focused specifically on Hispanics or entrepreneurs. A total of 25 participants were formally interviewed for this study

This narrative study sought to understand the socialization experiences of Hispanic entrepreneurs. While several studies have explored socialization and work-life wellness, few have focused specifically on Hispanics or entrepreneurs. A total of 25 participants were formally interviewed for this study including 16 entrepreneurs and 9 of their family members. Data were also collected through participant observation in which 210 participants were observed at several venues. Participants were recruited from three Southwestern states including: Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. The study employed qualitative interpretive methods to collect and analyze data. Research questions focused on the socialization experiences Hispanic entrepreneurs' reported, how they narrated the ways in which these experiences influenced their work-lives as entrepreneurs, and what they and their family members reported about the relationship between family and work. Results indicate Hispanic entrepreneurs were exposed to work at very young ages, acquired a variety of skills (e.g. sales and leadership) that transferred to their careers as entrepreneurs, and developed coping skills which helped them deal with business and personal hardships. Moreover, participants noted the ways in which faith, positive self-talk, and emotional labor played a role in their work lives. Finally, this research extends current constructions of care and what constitutes work and quality family time.

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2012

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rEvolutionary changes: the complex relationships between legislators and communication technology

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Newer communication technologies (CTs) will always vie with more mature technologies for the attention of time-constrained legislators. As continual advances in CT make new methods of communication available to legislators, it is important to understand how newly introduced CTs influence

Newer communication technologies (CTs) will always vie with more mature technologies for the attention of time-constrained legislators. As continual advances in CT make new methods of communication available to legislators, it is important to understand how newly introduced CTs influence novel and changing legislator behaviors. The mixed-method research presented in this study provides deep insights into the relationships between legislators and the CTs they use. This study offers many contributions, among them: it effectively bridges a gap between existing Internet Enabled CT (IECT) behavioral studies on non-legislators by expanding them to include legislator behavior; it expands existing narrowly focused research into the use of CT by legislators by including both IECT and mature CTs such as face-to-face meetings and telephone; it provides a fresh perspective on the factors that make CTs important to legislators, and it uncovers legislator behaviors that are both useful, and potentially harmful, to the process of democracy in the United States. In addition, this study confirms and extends existing research in areas such as minority party constituent communication frequency, and extends the topic of legislator CT behavior into some unanticipated areas such as constituent selective behaviors and the use of text messaging during floor debates which effectively enable lobbyists and paid consultants to participate real-time in floor debates in the Arizona House and Senate.

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2014

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Living relationships with the past: remembering communism in Romania

Description

In the countries of Eastern Europe, the recent history of the communist regimes creates a context rich in various and often times contradictory remembering practices. While normative discourses of memory enacted in official forms of memory such as museums, memorials,

In the countries of Eastern Europe, the recent history of the communist regimes creates a context rich in various and often times contradictory remembering practices. While normative discourses of memory enacted in official forms of memory such as museums, memorials, monuments, or commemorative rituals attempt to castigate the communism in definite terms, remembering practices enacted in everyday life are more ambiguous and more tolerant of various interpretations of the communist past. This study offers a case study of the ways in which people remember communism in everyday life in Romania. While various inquiries into Eastern Europe's and also Romania's official and intentional forms of memorializing communism abound, few works address remembering practices in their entanglements with everyday life. From a methodological point of view, this study integrates a grounded methodology approach with a rhetorical sensitivity to explore the discourses, objects, events, and practices of remembering communism in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. In doing so, this inquiry attends not only to the aspects of the present that animate the remembering of communism, but also and more specifically to the set of practices by which the remembering process is performed. The qualitative analysis revealed a number of conceptual categories that clustered around three major themes that describe the entanglements of remembering activities with everyday life. Relating the present to the past, sustaining the past in the present, and pursuing the communist past constitute the ways in which people in Romania live their relationships with the communist past in a way that reveals the complex interplay between private and public forms of memory, but also between the political, social, and cultural aspects of the remembering process. These themes also facilitate a holistic understanding of the rhetorical environment of remembering communism in Romania.

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2014