Common Destiny: Rhetorical Constructions of U.S. Masculine Nationalism from the Boy Scouts to President Bush
AuthorJones, Leigh Ann
Committee ChairMcAllister, Ken S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractI argue in this dissertation that U.S. rhetorics of national masculinity, while consistently present during the twentieth century, have changed shape in response to economic, social, and political crises. My research begins with the early twentieth-century Boy Scouts of America. It then moves to the late twentieth century, focusing on Ronald Reagan's inaugural speeches and the U.S. Army's campaign brochures, seeking to understand how U.S. national boundaries around masculinity have been drawn and redrawn according to political economies of the body. In these examples, the middle class struggles to define itself against realities of advancing capitalism that threaten the social capital of whiteness, manhood, and middle-class status.In chapter one, I present a literature review of masculinity, gender, and nationalism theories and an overview of my research methods.In chapter two, I present a rhetorical analysis of American masculinist nationalism at the turn of the 20th century, focusing on rhetoric that was used to develop boys and young men into masculine preservers of the nation, including training manuals from the Boy Scouts of America. I particularly concentrate on narratives of the formation and beginnings of the BSA. I connect the rhetoric of these narratives to the concurrent changes in Roosevelt's military goals. In chapter three, I examine how, beginning with President Ronald Reagan, the economy became rhetorically tied to ideals of freedom and democracy. I argue that the effect of this rhetorical shift has been that national projects that were formerly tied to national pride and service can now be executed through calls to improve the national economy or even one's individual economic status.In chapter four, I argue that this rhetorical shift has changed the rhetoric of Army recruiting. I analyze U.S. Army recruiting brochures and surveys to argue that masculinist nationalism in this context maintains elements from early-twentieth-century masculinity, but incorporates rhetoric of economic individualism that stems from Reagan's era.In chapter five, I draw from examples in the three analysis chapters of my dissertation to make observations about the nature of masculinist nationalism in the U.S., and suggest areas for further research stemming from my dissertation.
Degree ProgramRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English