First Advisor

Cynthia-Lou Coleman

Term of Graduation

Fall 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






Social values, Social choice, Social planning, Amanda Gorman (1998- ) Hill we climb



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 128 pages)


Social scientists argue that values enable group coordination. I explore two theories of values before turning to evidence provided by Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb." First, the paradigm of Shalom Schwartz describes values as transsituational goals which enable groups to coordinate action and evaluate the world. I argue the Schwartz paradigm zooms out from values into categories while I need a means to zoom in to understand values in discourse. I turn to the Pragmatic Prospection paradigm to elaborate the cognitive ontology of goals and to understand the function of language. I argue that values are shared simulations of desirable futures and plans to attain them. By sharing plans in discourse, groups can coordinate action to attain goals.

I employ a qualitative textual analysis using Close Reading and Conceptual Metaphor Theory to search for values in "The Hill We Climb." My analysis identifies: Ideals (and Criteria of Evaluation), Plans, Means, Ends, and Negative Social Values. Ideals are words that describe a simulation and are often used in criteria of evaluation to create a contrast between the status of the present (the real) and the desirable state (the ideal). I found that Gorman articulates a variety of plans which are demarcated by the connection of possible actions (means) with desirable outcomes (ends). Negative social values are those ideals and plans which Gorman rejects as undesirable to articulate what actions should not be taken. I provide representative examples and theoretical analysis for each category before offering a discussion.


© 2021 Luke Edward Hanst

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