Title page for ETD etd-07102008-110841

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hartman, Karen L.
Author's Email Address khartm1@lsu.edu
URN etd-07102008-110841
Title The Rhetorical Myth of the Athlete as a Moral Hero: The Implications of Steroids in Sport and the Threatened Myth
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrew King Committee Chair
Roland Mitchell Committee Member
Ruth Bowman Committee Member
Stephanie Grey Committee Member
Patrick McGee Dean's Representative
  • myth
  • rhetoric
  • hero
  • sport
  • steroids
Date of Defense 2008-07-08
Availability unrestricted
This research analyzes changes in the rhetoric of a sustaining myth in order to better assess what happens when a myth is threatened. By examining American sport and its current struggle to withstand the widespread use of steroids, the author investigates how public discourse about the scandal turns athletes from mythical heroes to cheaters. The author begins by explicating the rhetorical construction of the athlete as a moral hero in America and how this myth is perpetuated today. The author then examines how steroids threaten the myth of the moral athlete and uses Major League Baseball as a case study to illustrate the rhetorical justification of their use. Ultimately this research offers a cyclical method of mythical analysis as a new method to analyze threatened myths. Current research offers few methods to explain how myths develop and this cyclical method attempts to provide specificity for one-way myths can survive. It is argued that the cyclical method acts as a way to account for threats to the myth, as well as to allow for rhetorical shifts.
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