To Honor and Obey: Hegemonic Negotiation in Contemporary Marriage Politics Open Access

Davis, Alysia Mary Beth (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/0r967423m?locale=en
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Abstract

This longitudinal and empirical study of the field of marriage politics prioritizes discourse in understanding the influence of hegemony on movement framing. I do so by evaluating how a specific construct - the hegemonic marriage ethic - contours framing decisions of three social movements: the traditional marriage movement (TMM), the Marriage Movement (MM), and the marriage equality movement (MEM). My research combines feminist discourse analysis and corpus linguistics methods to evaluate four corpora - The Washington Post headlines (1985-2007), interviews with leaders of 19 social movement organizations (SMOs), extensive movement organization documents, and a reference corpus constructed from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) spanning the years 1990-2012 (Davies 2008-).

Three main theoretical tenets guide my research: 1) feminist and queer critiques of marriage identify hetero-patriarchal foundations of the hegemonic marriage ethic; 2) the theory of cultural hegemony highlights the importance of a discursive focus; and 3) social movement framing theory provides scope conditions for assessing how shifts or changes in hegemonic constructions become relevant for framing decision-making.

My research theorizes negotiation as a tool for movements to discursively engage hegemony. The concept of negotiation counters often over-simplified depictions of social movements' mindless hegemonic acceptance or rejection. In this empirical marriage case, the dialogic nature of framing necessitates interdiscursive framing strategies for dealing with the problem or promise of hegemony. I also argue that better understanding of how movements negotiate the hegemonic marriage ethic reveals significant implications for issues of sexual citizenship.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction... 1

A. Theoretical Introduction to Hegemonic Marriage...4

B. The Movements...11

1. The Traditional Marriage Movement (TMM)...12

2. The Marriage Movement (MM)..18

3. The Marriage Equality Movement (MEM)...26

C. Chapter Analytic Strategy...31

Chapter 2: Literature Review...33

A. Feminist and Queer Critiques...33

B. Hegemony...43

C. Social Movement Framing...46

Chapter 3: Methods...53

A. Feminist CDA Theory and Methodology...55

B. Corpus Linguistics (CL) Theory and Methodology...58

C. Combining CDA and CL: Research Design...62

D. Analytical Procedure...64

1. Newspaper headline textual analysis...66

2. Interview corpus textual and corpus analysis...67

3. Web corpus analysis...70

4. Social practices analysis...71

E. Feminist Researcher...72

CHAPTER 4: TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF THE WASHINGTON POST CORPUS...75

A. Thematic Breakdown of Hegemonic Marriage...78

1. Trend #1: Reporting on divorce...82

2. Trend #2: Reporting on children...85

3. Trend #3: Reporting on same-sex marriage...87

4. Trend #4: Reporting on traditional values...91

5. Trend #5: Reporting on policies...93

6. Trend #6: Reporting on welfare...94

7. Trend #7: Reporting on prohibitions...96

B. Function of Identifying Trends...98

Chapter 5: The Marriage Equality Movement...103

A. Textual Analysis (Description) of MEM Web Corpus...108

1. The early years - Building a movement...109

2. Establishing a civil rights master frame...110

3. Gaining momentum...112

4. The new majority...114

B. Textual Analysis (Description) of MEM Interview Corpus...117

1. Grassroots versus staff-driven SMOs...117

2. Message targets...124

3. Beyond marriage...127

C. Process Analysis (Interpretation) of MEM Interview Corpus...129

1. MEM interview diagnostic frames: What is marriage?...129

2. MEM interview prognostic frame: Rights...134

D. MEM Corpus Linguistic (CL) Analysis...137

1. MEM diagnostic frame - Civil marriage is a legal institution...139

2. MEM prognostic frame - Marriage is a right...142

E. MEM Social Practices Analysis...147

Chapter 6: The Traditional Marriage Movement...158

A. Textual Analysis (Description) of TMM Web Corpus...160

1. The early years...160

2. Clarifying opposition...163

3. Defining moment in history...169

4. The calm after the storm...172

B. Textual Analysis (Description) of TMM Interview Corpus...174

1. Culture war...174

2. Message targets...176

3. Reactionary framing...180

4. Deinstitutionalization and polygamy...182

C. Process Analysis (Interpretation) of TMM Interview Corpus...183

1. TMM interview diagnostic frames...184

2. TMM interview prognostic frames...186

D. TMM Corpus Linguistic Analysis...188

1. TMM diagnostic frame...191

2. TMM prognostic frame...197

E. TMM Social Practices Analysis...198

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE MARRIAGE MOVEMENT...204

A. Textual Analysis (Description) of MM Web Corpus...206

1. Building a movement...206

2. A forced hand...211

3. New directions...217

B. Textual Analysis (Description) of MM Interview Corpus...219

1. Broad-based movement...220

2. Healthy marriages and the federal government...223

3. Same-sex marriage and discourse co-optation...227

4. Definition of marriage...230

C. Process Analysis (Interpretation) of MM Interview Corpus...233

1. MM interview diagnostic fames...233

2. MM interview prognostic frames...237

D. MM Corpus Linguistic Analysis...239

1. MM diagnostic frames...242

2. MM prognostic frame...246

E. MM Social Practices Analysis...250

CHAPTER EIGHT: DENOUEMENT...259

A. Theoretical Insights...264

B. Practical Insights...267

C. Continuing Questions...274

References...279

Appendices...308

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