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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Kelly Young


This project explores how people enact citizenship through discourses in postindustrial Rust Belt cities. Drawing on Robert Asen’s discursive theory of citizenship, this dissertation views prevalent discourses through various media tropes. Media tropes reflect and construct authenticity, a key element to the status of urban citizen. Analysis of four tropes, the urban wasteland, nature, rebirth, and DIY, reveals how neoliberal governmentality serves to coopt how people enact urban citizenship. Two books, two documentaries, and a selective sample of booster publications make up the texts analyzed in this dissertation. The aim of the dissertation is to break down common tropes that serve to exclude indigenous urban citizens from revitalization and open up space for more inclusive discourses in the city.

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