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Dissertation Information for William David Gibson

- William David Gibson

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- Rutgers University (USA) (1997)

- Robert Kubey

- Hartmut Mokros
- William Solomon
- Karen Cerulo

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Presenting and representing the president: Visual imagery and the evolution of presidential identity

Abstract: This dissertation explores the portrayal of United States Presidents as a communication phenomenon--one that can be analyzed from both mass and interpersonal communication perspectives. The research approach involves a systematic study of the portrayal of Presidents and Presidential candidates on magazine covers, with special emphasis on the period from the beginning of 1992 through the first term of Bill Clinton as President and the 1996 election. Covers have been analyzed as symbolic manifestations of visual information that is widely available to people as they "come to know" Presidential figures. A key question has been how these symbolic depictions may help to explain the way meaning is shaped in a culture where people are expected not only to know the President, but also to act on that knowledge--through voting. The apparent paradox: that impressions of individual Presidents become so ingrained and so pervasive, even though so few people ever actually get to see and meet a President in a face-to-face encounter.

The question is approached from a perspective in which culture is both a repository of meaning and an enabling mechanism for establishing meaning. The study integrates literature from mass communication, interpersonal communication, semiotics, political communication, and visual communication. A major theoretical guidepost for this study is found in the social interaction communication concepts of Erving Goffman, including facework, framing and staging. The study evolved from a consideration of more than 500 magazine covers portraying Presidents. Examples of covers featuring Presidential figures are analyzed according to four principle thematic categories: (1) the interplay between the ordinary and the extraordinary, (2) the performance imperative, (3) rituals of presentation, and (4) the social contest.

MPACT Scores for William David Gibson

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:10:39

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Students under William David Gibson

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