Oregon's Death with Dignity Act : a rhetorical criticism of narrative within public policy Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4m90f107p

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  • The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of narratives within public policy, surrounding the issue of doctor-assisted suicide. Specifically, this study attempts to examine the way(s) in which narratives both shape and influence public policy; pertaining to Measure 16, Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. Narrative communication involving the issues of Measure 16 and doctor-assisted suicide exist in a variety of facets. These include letters sent to reader response forums in newspapers and magazines, the Oregon Voters Pamphlet, and letters sent directly to government officials and offices at the State Capitol. By examining the role of narrative within the doctor-assisted suicide debate, this study will demonstrate how the discourse operates (either intentionally or unintentionally) from a rhetorical standpoint, which influences the way voters cast ballots at the voting booth. A contemporary approach to narrative, as illustrated by Sonja K. Foss, will be applied in this study as a method for investigating narratives pertaining to Measure 16 and the controversy of doctor-assisted suicide. Foss' approach works effectively in explaining the use of narratives as a means of influencing within the public policy arena. This study attempts to show how language is constructed in order to shape and promote views towards ballot measures and human rights issues. Additionally, this study intends to increase the understanding of narrative's function within discourse heavily relied upon by voters and lawmakers during election time.
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