Scott Tulloch

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Sandra J. Berkowitz

Second Committee Member

Nathan E. Stormer

Third Committee Member

Eric E. Peterson


This is a geo-critical wandering into U.S. civic engagement discourse. It is an exploration that uses a hybrid critical and geographical methodology by which to approach U.S. civic engagement discourse. The geo-critical approach is an idiosyncratic combination of historical and spatial orientations that is suited to excavate the historical strata and depth of discourse, as well as the fluctuating, "ahistorical," and "superficial" surface of discourse. From this geo-critical approach this thesis seeks to identify, explore and disturb the ideological structures and potential discursive arrangements that guide and warrant our contemporary understanding and practice of U.S. civic engagement. This thesis attempts to interrogate these structures and arrangements through a combination of ideographic analysis (McGee, 1980) and memetic analysis (Dawkins, 1988; Johnson, 2007). Consisting of an ideographic analysis of three historical and conceptual structures that contain contemporary U.S. civic identity and action, and a supplementary ideographic and memetic analysis of Rock the Vote, a replicating structure on the surface of U.S. civic engagement discourse, this experimentation of methods is productive and indicates that ideographic and memetic analysis are supplementary and complementary. A geo-critical perspective and unique combination of critical and geographical methods, such as the ideograph and meme, is better suited to provide an agile approach, tools, and concepts to interrogate fluid and fragmented contemporary U.S. civic engagement discourse and thus expands "the capacity to represent a wider segment of society and their values" (Deetz, 596).