Masters Thesis

Neoliberalism: hegemonic rhetorical legitimacy, social impact, crisis, and spectacle in U.S. presidencies

Using Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, this thesis examines neoliberal ideology as a fragmented hegemon that legitimizes itself through other cultural projects. Using narrative analysis, I produce speech excerpts from the Reagan administration to the Trump administration and discuss their social impact, ideological appeal, and economic appeal towards neoliberalism. Findings on neoliberal culture-projects are revealed through the War on Drugs, Welfare reform, War on Terror, and Immigration policy. In addition, I use Gramscian and Debordian theory to discuss the 2016 presidential election, the present crisis of legitimization, and the prospect of counter-hegemony.

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