Communication and Rhetorical Studies
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Richard H. Thames
Anthony M. Wachs
Rhetoric, Parody, Bakhtin, Burke, Trump
The intent of this dissertation is to explore the rhetorical nature of parody in the context of the American electoral process. This work draws on existing research in the field to show how humor is an important method for engaging the public sphere. This project develops the rhetorical nature of humor, works through existing research on conceptualizations of humor and its importance for societal dialogue, and then addresses the specific contributions to the study of parody offered by Mikhail Bakhtin and Kenneth Burke to demonstrate the potential for parody to act as a form of rhetorical illumination of existing rhetorical texts and styles. After documenting the contemporary research that has further articulated the significance of parody in understanding American political engagement, the final chapter offers a case study of parody surrounding the campaign of Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. The dissertation concludes that parody had important implications for how Donald Trump’s character was expressed and understood by the media and the electorate, facilitating a more acceptable perception of who Trump was as someone who might be presidential.
Lyle, J. (2021). The Rhetoric of Parody and Persona: The Rhetorical Construction of Donald Trump Through Parody in the 2016 Election (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1986