Qualitative Content Analysis of Political Rhetoric and Victim Perceptions in the United States
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.
AbstractVictimhood rhetoric, through which victims of crimes request recompense as a result of their suffering, is easily observed in modern media. This observation poses the possibility that societal perceptions of victims over time may have changed. This study investigates, in all 58 of the United States Presidents’ inaugural speeches, the chronological shift of rhetorical themes associated with victim perception. The themes being evaluated were determined by their relevance to positive and negative valuations of victimhood status. Themes were then separated into several codes: duty to help others and true victimhood codes represented positive victim perceptions; Protestant Work Ethic, isolationism, and untrue victimhood codes represent negative victim perceptions. These codes were applied on a sentence-by-sentence basis to develop initial impressions of trends. Isolationism and untrue victimhood were not correlated with the passage of time. However, associations were found between passage of time and three themes: Protestant Work Ethic, duty to help others, and true victimhood.
Degree ProgramHonors College