The rhetoric of "family values": Scapegoating, utopia, and the privatization of social responsibility

Dana L. Cloud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article performs an ideographic analysis of the bipartisan political deployment of the slogan "family values" during the 1992 Presidential election campaign. The analysis shows that "family values" talk functioned during that campaign to scapegoat Black men and poor Americans for social problems. However, the "family values" ideograph also is invested with a gendered utopian narrative that makes its scapegoating less apparent and more persuasive. Ultimately, in constructing the family as the site of all responsibility and change, the rhetoric of "family values" privatizes social responsibility for ending poverty and racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-419
Number of pages33
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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