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Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Anne Marie Todd


Conservation, Energy, Fantasy, Narrative, Persuasion, Rhetorical Analysis

Subject Areas

Communication; Rhetoric; Mass communication


A crisis, as an exigency, is an opportunity for change in culture and society. In 1999, California's energy emergency, designated a crisis by some, created a situation that demanded a response. The response included cultural and social impacts that continue to resonate. This thesis examines the role that culture, media, fantasy, and narrative play in the re-creation of social reality.

An understanding of the ways that groups work to garner support and propagate their goals and in a mediated public reality will contribute to a general knowledge of the construction of public mass change, and identify some ways that fantasies and stories impact culture and social reality. Walter Fisher's Narrative Paradigm, combined with a discussion of fantasies and chaining in a rhetorical analysis, outlines a foundational structure for understanding media discourse as rhetorical and as constructing social reality.

This project examines the texts contained by and surrounding the Flex Your Power public media campaign. Ernest Bormann's Fantasy Theme Analysis forms the basis of a structure to compare cultural and social artifacts (slogans, bumper stickers, ads, web content, light bulbs, etc.) and texts that represent the tracks of a movement and compose the milestones of a revolution. The results of this thesis reveal intricate connections between the construction of culture and opinion. These connections highlight the impact that changes to cultural assumption and lifestyle have on reality.