Jump to navigation
From intervention to rehab: rhetorical agency in addiction and recovery reality programs
Amaro, Lauren M
Dionisopoulos, GeorgeGoehring, CharlesMcClish, Glen
One of the central questions pertaining to addiction is if the addict has capacity to change. This question is part of a larger scholarly debate about rhetorical agency, or the capacity of an individual to enact change through symbolic means. This thesis undertakes a dialectical approach to rhetorical agency to examine two popular reality television shows about addiction. The first season DVD of Intervention and the second season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew provide data for analysis. The shows argue that agency not only exists within addiction but that it can powerfully motivate personal, relational, and group change. The thesis begins with an overview of addiction as a cultural dialogue in the first chapter. The second chapter presents a rationale that situates the study of agency and narratives of agency in the dark side of communication. The third chapter uses five propositions of the nature of agency to discuss how Intervention and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew present a narrative of agency as a grueling process that seeks personal, relational, and social change with dark and light consequences. According to this narrative, change for the addict begins with personal change, which is helped or hindered by experiences of trauma. After personal change, the addict may seek relational change, which is moderated by idyllic or deviant relationships. After relational change, the addict may seek social change, which is heavily influenced by the existing narrative of the group. The fourth chapter delves into theoretical implications by contrasting the findings of the study and central propositions with a theory of agentic orientation. The study concludes with a discussion of contributions to the field of communication.
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2010
© 2015 SDSU Library & Information Access. All Rights Reserved.