Feeling in the public sphere: a study of emotion, public discourse, and the law in the murders of James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard

dc.contributor.advisorStein, Laura Lynn, 1965-en
dc.contributor.advisorDowning, John (John Derek Hall)en
dc.creatorPetersen, Jennifer Anneen
dc.date.accessioned2008-08-28T23:06:27Zen
dc.date.available2008-08-28T23:06:27Zen
dc.date.issued2006en
dc.description.abstractThe dissertation examines the role of affect within the spaces and institutions of democratic politics in the cases of two highly publicized moments of personal and collective trauma: the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Drawing on the work of Sara Ahmed, Barbara Koziak and Lauren Berlant as well as scholarship on discourse ethics, feminist political theory, public memory and commemoration, the dissertation traces and analyzes the role of affective discourse in the mediated discussion of each murder. It then analyzes how this affective discourse circulated into legislative publics and processes, looking at the way public feelings became a factor in legislating hate crime measures in the city of Laramie, Wyo. and in the state of Texas. The public mourning surrounding these men is analyzed as a site of political opinion formation and as a factor in the enactments of law. The work seeks to contribute to the tradition of media studies that emphasizes the role of community and ethics in communication, following scholars such as James Carey and John Durham Peters. Through analysis of the discourse and law-making surrounding the two murders, the dissertation argues for a critical analysis of affective discourse as a public, political phenomenon (rather than as an intrusion of the personal and private into the public realm). It seeks to question traditional uses of Habermas’ normative theory of the public sphere within media and communication studies, and to open questions about how normative ideas of democratic communication might better account for the impact of affect in politics.
dc.description.departmentRadio-Television-Filmen
dc.format.mediumelectronicen
dc.identifierb65464114en
dc.identifier.oclc156268158en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2152/2747en
dc.language.isoengen
dc.rightsCopyright is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.en
dc.subject.lcshPublic opinion--Political aspects--United Statesen
dc.subject.lcshEmotions--Political aspects--United Statesen
dc.subject.lcshMass media and public opinion--United Statesen
dc.subject.lcshHate crimes--United States--Public opinionen
dc.subject.lcshByrd, James,--d. 1998--Death--Public opinionen
dc.subject.lcshShepard, Matthew,--d. 1998--Death--Public opinionen
dc.subject.lcshRacism--United Statesen
dc.subject.lcshUnited States--Race relationsen
dc.subject.lcshHomophobia--United Statesen
dc.titleFeeling in the public sphere: a study of emotion, public discourse, and the law in the murders of James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Sheparden
dc.type.genreThesisen
thesis.degree.departmentRadio-Television-Filmen
thesis.degree.disciplineRadio-Television-Filmen
thesis.degree.grantorThe University of Texas at Austinen
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen

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