Theses Master's

Assessing The Power of Disaster: How Crisis Narratives Shape Right-Wing Political Campaigns

Miller, Joe

Crises are often socially constructed rather than actual states of social calamity. Many right-wing party coalitions have come to rely on crisis-driven framing to drive political campaigns, especially in the United States. In this thesis, I explore how conservative crisis policy may be shaped by a triangulation of three particular crisis frames: neoliberalism, nationalism, and the nuclear family. Crisis narratives are shaped by these different political frames, but they are also influenced candidate incumbency and institutional access. Different crisis frames build salience differently depending on how polarization impacts the populace, how the media molds these frames, and how social media networks disseminate messaging. I find that crisis narratives and rhetorical crisis strategies can bolster issue salience and impact electoral outcomes through increased voter mobilization. Even among incumbent crisis candidates, their orientation towards neoliberal, nationalist, or family-centered frames influenced electoral performance and turnout in the 2022 midterm elections.

Keywords: crisis, shock doctrine, nationalism, neoliberalism, family policy, right-wing politics, critical disaster studies.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Thesis Advisors
Sandler, Matthew F.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
January 11, 2023