First Advisor

Leslie T. Good

Term of Graduation

Spring 1993

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Structuralism, Functionalism (Social sciences), Power (Social sciences)



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, viii, 136 pages)


This research proposes that it is possible to meaningfully examine the differences between subjects' perceptions of concepts at two different levels of analysis. The central theory, called "fractionation", is derived from structuration theory. The theory suggests that there is an important and particular difference between subjects' perceptions of key concepts at the value (abstract) level, as differentiated from the policy (action) level. The key concepts provided here are capitalism and democracy. Three major stages of data gathering and analysis were conducted. The first stage, carried out in several phases, surveyed 337 college students to gather words commonly associated with two key concepts: capitalism and democracy. These words were then used as items in a multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The results were used to represent the relationship between the two key concepts at the value level of analysis. The second stage consisted of gathering policy fragments from two mainstream newspapers. Television advertising was selected as the focal point of this search, to represent one area where democracy and capitalism co-exist. Fragments were taken from the newspapers and compiled into "fragment topics", or pieces of argument about the relationship between capitalism and democracy in television advertising. Stage III was carried out by surveying seventy-three subjects who were presented with the argumentative statements developed in each fragment topic. An assessment was made of the relationship between capitalism and democracy at the policy level based on the argument choices made by the subjects. Stage I resulted in a clear distinction between the two key concepts of capitalism and democracy at the value level, while Stage III resulted in a conflict between the two at the policy level. The comparison of results between the first stage of the research and the third stage represents the fractionation that was being sought.


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