All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Cynthia Ryan

Advisory Committee Members

Kyle Grimes

Bruce M McComiskey

Karen Utz

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

As rural America evolves from its agrarian roots, an onslaught of economic, geographic, and societal changes affect cultural tensions. During every significant cultural shift in America, pop culture and mass media outlets have been there to interpret it, commentate on it, and sometimes provoke it. Country music is no exception. A rhetorical analysis of popular contemporary country music shows that country artists are seeking expression on the topics of rural identity, cultural endangerment, and methods of cultural sustention. An exploration of the lyrical and musical elements of select songs, examined against scholarly studies of the protest and propaganda music of America's most significant sociopolitical climates, opens doors for a reevaluation of the boundaries of protest and propaganda. The findings in this study also call for a reconsideration of the sociopolitical composition of the country music genre and the mores of rural culture itself. The interplay between country artists, their audiences, and the medium and method of message delivery provides an opportunity for the delicate task of deciphering and purposing the various perceptions presented in rhetoric about rural culture.

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