Prepare before you say "I do" : the rhetorical construction of marriage in premarital counseling programs Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1v53k2176

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  • The increasing prevalence of marital breakdown in the United States has been met by the proliferation of premarital counseling programs in professional counseling centers and churches. As increasing masses of couples turn to premarital counseling to prevent future interpersonal problems, and as communities and churches across the United States deem it necessary to require them to do so, the rhetoric of premarital counseling, I argue, is becoming a significant force in constructing contemporary meanings of marriage. Utilizing rhetorical criticism as a new method for examining premarital counseling, this study addresses two key issues: a) the images of marriage constructed in these programs; and b) the process by which these images are created. An extensive analysis of two national programs, messages embodied in their counseling materials, themes, symbols, and clusters of terms that facilitate persuasion and epistemic functions. Applying a Burkean dramatistic perspective, I contend that a more complete understanding of premarital counseling is advanced if such discourse is treated as "drama" and the participates in such discourse as "symbol-using animals." The dramatistic analysis of both programs reveals that a "rhetoric of rebirth" best explains the process of persuasion that occurs in these programs. This research is an example of how premarital counseling programs can be analyzed from a fresh perspective--namely, premarital counseling as rhetoric. Such analysis ultimately leads to a new way of explaining how these programs attempt to modify couples' beliefs and actions. The last chapter summarizes the thesis, discusses the ethics of rhetoric in programs, as well as the limitations and contributions of the study and implications for future research.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-10-09T17:02:30Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 YoungJun1997.pdf: 10399089 bytes, checksum: e8c3546f5f295893171ed83452c416cc (MD5)
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