Graduate Thesis: Patria o Muetre

I earned a masters degree in international journalism and magazine writing from the University of Missouri in 2009. My thesis examined ideology in Cuba’s state-run media system through the frameworks of rhetorical and deconstructive criticism. The abstract appears below, as does a link to a PDF of the entire thesis. Enjoy!


Erin J. Bernard

Dr. Tim. P. Vos, Thesis Supervisor


Cuba’s state-run media outlets have long acted as conduits for the construction and reinforcement of Revolutionary ideology. This was particularly true during the Battle of Ideas, an ideological campaign that aimed to mobilize Cuban youth in the wake of the 1999 Elián González crisis. Drawing from social construction of reality theory, ideological criticism and narrative theory, and synthesizing ideological and deconstructive methods of analysis, this study uses a new theoretical model, the ideographic binary (IB) set, to examine how Revolutionary ideology was constructed and reinforced in Cuba’s state-produced youth newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, and in speeches given by Fidel Castro at public rallies during the early years of the Battle of Ideas (1999- 2002). The findings show that ideology was expressed in the texts through five dominant IB sets. These sets functioned in their totality as a metanarrative that sought to address problematic aspects of the social, economic and political realities of post-Soviet Cuba in two major ways: by presenting the contemporary Cuban project of Revolution as a highstakes battle between binarized forces that worked either to support or undermine Revolutionary ideology, and by acknowledging and refuting potential arguments against the viability of the Revolution through moments of textual destabilization.

Click to read Patria o Muerte


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