Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorKeeley-Jonker, Bethany Lynn
dc.description.abstractWhile scholars have long been interested in the ways American Protestant Christianity interacts with Patriotism and Economic structures separately, few have taken these two relationships into account together. In this dissertation, I seek to understand how Americans build connections between their understanding of religion, national identity, and work success. I do this primarily through examining three best-selling middlebrow books from different time periods: The Man Nobody Knows, The Power of Positive Thinking and Your Best Life Now. Alongside these major texts, I look at public speeches, legal discourse and news coverage to understand how they interact with “common sense” notions of the time. I argue these three ideology/institutions become articulated into a hegemony, in a logic similar to that described by Ernesto Laclau. Some scholars criticize Laclau for not detailing how these hegemonies come into being beyond crediting it to “rhetoric.” Through my case studies, I make the case that theories and methods from the rhetorical tradition can account for how and why that takes place, although the breadth of rhetorical tradition suggests it takes place in a variety of ways. The study also helps us understand an American tradition of understanding economic virtues and religious virtues together, and that both elements influence the cultural understanding of what it means to live a good life. Each of my texts presents an example of an American Christian wrestling with the relation his faith might have to success in business and other arenas. In all cases, they seem to be simultaneously making the case for a particular kind of Christian living, and for the relevance of the Bible and Christian Theology to the contemporary American. This tradition explains why so much of today’s political debates around American identity and economic crisis are so closely tied to religious beliefs, affiliations and identities.
dc.subjectpopular books
dc.subjectcivil religion
dc.titleGod’s people, god’s blessings
dc.title.alternativerhetorics of religion, patriotism and capitalism in American prosperity
dc.description.departmentSpeech Communication
dc.description.majorSpeech Communication
dc.description.advisorThomas Lessl
dc.description.committeeThomas Lessl
dc.description.committeeRoger Stahl
dc.description.committeeBarry Hollander
dc.description.committeeBarbara Biesecker

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record