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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Joseph P. Zompetti


Both mainstream audiences and critics alike have hailed the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black for its representation of marginalized groups. This analysis highlights the ways in which characters from both dominant and minority identity groups are constructed rhetorically within the series and how those constructions contribute to ideological narratives. By understanding how the series rhetorically constructs different ideological groups, the effectiveness of the show as a media text for diverse representation can be determined. Results indicate that the dominant rhetorical context within the prison is based on White racial, heterosexual, and traditional gender values. Individuals who abide by dominant expectations are provided privilege, while those who deviate are rhetorically and physically marginalized. Prisoners within the White-controlled system co-opt and utilize dominant rhetorical tactics to negotiate favor for personal and communal interests. Ultimately, Orange is the New Black as a media text has somewhat troubling depictions in terms of transgendered individuals and the rhetorical ambiguity of Piper's sexuality. However, the agency that the show supplies allows characters to stand as imperfect members of subaltern ideological groups.


Imported from ProQuest McDonald_ilstu_0092N_10479.pdf


Page Count


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