Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Mariaelena Bartesaghi


Discourse Analysis, Gender, Morality, Radio, Ritual


In this thesis, I show how a current radio program, War of the Roses, acts as a ritual of shaming that affirms the social order as moral order, involving moral condemnation, degradation of social identity, and public embarrassment (Goffman, 1956, 1967; Turner 1987). I use discourse analysis (DA) (e.g., Bergmann, 1998; Tracy, 2001; Tracy & Mirivel, 2008) and membership categorization analysis (Baker, 2000; Roulston, 2001) to examine eight transcripts from multiple versions of the War of the Roses radio program across the country. The basic premise of the radio program War of Roses involves a "caller" who suspects her or his partner of infidelity colluding with the radio DJ to devise a test to confirm whether or not the partner is in fact "cheating" on the relationship. The sequencing of the show inevitably involves exposing and confronting the cheater with their infidelity, and embarrassing the cheater in the public forum of the radio medium. Specifically, I trace how morality is enacted as a dynamic of talk-in-interaction, which requires a negotiation and authorization of claims, and involves differential access on the part of the DJ, the "cheater," and the victim to the social discourse of shaming and embarrassment.