Date of Award

Winter 2-28-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

B.A. in Political Science

Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Political Science

First Advisor

Nancy Wadsworth, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Seth Masket, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lapo Salucci, Ph.D.


Democratic socialism, The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Bernie Sanders, Framing, Frames, Political Discourse Analysis (PDA)


In light of the rising prominence of the democratic socialist movement (DSM) in the United States, this thesis performs a discourse analysis of the frames utilized in pro-movement literature. Through the evaluation of five full-length books, I strive to answer the following research questions: How has pro-movement literature framed the DSM? What is the significance of the frames that have been employed? Based on qualitative observations reinforced with a minor quantitative study, I identify thirteen frames that are significant across pro-DSM literature. Then, in analyzing these frames, I argue that they can largely be categorized into three groups: 1) as tools meant to highlight the ways the DSM rationally and morally merits support; 2) as structures meant to contrast the DSM with its ideological and political opponents in order to emphasize its supremacy; 3) as mechanisms that encourage readers to mobilize on behalf of the DSM so that the movement can flourish in the future. It is my assertion that these frames are significant because they represent an attempt to create new advocates for the causes of the DSM, strengthen the resolve of present DSM adherents, and help the movement to build on present momentum so that it can prosper.

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