Identifier

etd-04252011-224457

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Music plays an important role in the lives of individuals and often reflects important societal values. Music can also serve as an important reflection of the public’s current opinion at a given point in time. Patriotism is a feeling of love for one’s homeland and has often been the subject matter of music lyrics throughout history. In particular, country music has been perceived as being an especially patriotic genre of music. This thesis utilized quantitative and qualitative content analyses as the methods to examine the patriotic content of country music lyrics over the past decade. The sample was adapted from Billboard’s year-end “Hot Country Songs” chart. Nearly 40% of the sample conveyed patriotic themes. The majority of these songs expressed blind patriotism, or unquestioning support of America. The songs that exuded patriotism were categorized into one of four themes: songs about terrorist attacks, wartime and the armed forces; songs about the American dream; songs about current events in America; and songs celebrating American life. Additionally, the songs about terrorism, wartime, and the armed forces experienced a shift in tone throughout the decade. The beginning of the time period contained songs that were overtly pro-America and pro-war, the middle of the decade included songs that were much softer and focused on the soldiers’ lives rather than the actual war, and lastly, the end of the decade contained songs that told stories of wartime casualties that many families were experiencing first handedly. This study illustrates that country music’s narrative and story-like lyrics have captured the patriotic feelings experienced by many people throughout the past decade. These songs collectively provided a snapshot of the opinions and values of society throughout the past decade.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lundy, Lisa

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