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Performing ‘Dubya’: George W. Bush Narratives on the Political and Theatrical Stages

Howe, Ryan (2013) Performing ‘Dubya’: George W. Bush Narratives on the Political and Theatrical Stages. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines how theatrical performance might offer the political left a model for responding to the communication strategies of the political right through a case study of responses to the George W. Bush administration. I conduct this exploration through a two-part study. In the first part, I establish a theoretical framework by looking to the work of Francis Fukuyama, Bruce McConachie, Brian Boyd and others to identify the common evolutionary and cognitive roots of storytelling and political order. Based on that understanding, I examine the historical development of presidential storytelling and create a rubric for analyzing contemporary presidential performance. The second part of this dissertation is comprised of three chapters, each of which focuses on a particular narrative strategy used by the George W. Bush administration to engender public support for the president and administration policies. I introduce and examine three narrative frameworks: the dynasty narrative, the redemption narrative, and the rescue narrative. In each chapter, I conduct a focused examination of the narrative strategy and how the president performed it. I then identify ways in which the theatrical performances in the case study expose, reject or replace the narratives crafted by Bush’s presidential performance. I conclude each chapter by comparing the theatrical responses to those provided by late night television performances of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Howe, Ryanrph5@pitt.eduRPH5
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFavorini, Attiliobucfav@pitt.eduBUCFAV
Committee MemberMcConachie, Brucebamcco@pitt.eduBAMCCO
Committee MemberGeorge, Kathleengeorgeke@pitt.eduGEORGEKE
Committee MemberSmith, Susan Harrisshs1@pitt.eduSHS1
Date: 30 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 March 2013
Approval Date: 30 June 2013
Submission Date: 10 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 216
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: George W. Bush; Presidential Performance; Presidents on Stage
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2013 21:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:11


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