Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Committee Chair/Advisor

Holmevik, Jan R

Committee Member

Haynes , Cynthia

Committee Member

Barnett , Scot


This research is an analysis of early 1980s American hardcore through the lens of rhetorical theory in an effort to learn lesson from punk rock that can be applied to composition pedagogy. It relies heavily on the Kenneth Burke's Language as Symbolic Action and A Rhetoric of Motives, Lloyd Bitzer's The Rhetorical Situation and Michel Foucault's Discourse on Language. The theories are applied the genre of punk rock in an effort to expose the rhetorical strategies employed by the movement to actively question and resist the dominant norms and values of the era. Two case studies are presented - an analysis of the legendary punk rock band the Bad Brains through the lens of Pierre Bourdieu's theories of social and cultural capital, and an analysis of the iconic Los Angeles punk rock band Black Flag using the theories of Michel Foucault. What emerges are strategies and techniques that can applied to the field of composition pedagogy as tools to better equip students with critical thinking abilities that actively challenge and resist dominant ideologies within our institutions and our culture.



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