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Intellectual Courage and the Social Construction of Terrorism: Embodying Reality.

Karaffa, Cynthia A. (2012) Intellectual Courage and the Social Construction of Terrorism: Embodying Reality. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Undertaking the exploration of the diverse, thought-provoking interpretations students provided for the words “terrorism” and “terrorist” is the basis of this work. The purpose in describing their interpretations is to acknowledge, in some instances, their acceptance of and resistance to “official” definitions and versions of “reality” regarding terrorism and terrorist. My interest is in showing how reality is constructed and experienced by students and how we as researchers and educators may create new possibilities of reality. This display of reality utilizes seven female students’ written discourse and is presented through the lens of sociological, political, and educational theories. Over the years I have taught sociology, social theory, research methods and political science. I have watched my students react with fascination (mostly positive, but sometimes negative) when learning about other cultures, belief systems, and values; expand their critical thinking skills; accept and reject elements of official doctrine and mass media produced acquiescent knowledge; and realize how the United States, with its hegemonic standing, culture, beliefs and values, affects and is affected by the rest of the world. In planning this study, I wanted to know how my students assemble their “subjective” social reality and how they perceive, interpret, and experience “objective” world realities.
The title of this work, Intellectual Courage and the Social Construction of Terrorism: Embodying Reality, reflects the three main constructs: intellectual courage, social construction, and reality. The results display an expression of open-mindedness without intimidation. When
discussing and analyzing their socially constructed realities, many students were able to think more creatively and critically when viewing “reality” associate with terrorists and terrorism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Karaffa, Cynthia
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee CoChairBickel, William E.bickel@pitt.eduBICKEL
Committee MemberGoldstein, Donald goldy@pitt.eduGOLDY
Committee MemberDarby-Lucas,
Date: 21 May 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 December 2011
Approval Date: 21 May 2012
Submission Date: 2 May 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 202
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Terrorism; Social Construction; Intellectual Courage; Political Science; Liberal Arts Education; Ethnocentrism, Women, and Culture.
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 18:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:58


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