Department or Program



Society is structured based on the symbol systems that facilitate communication. Humans are narrative beings who find their morals and attitudes through interactions with stories that describe experience and substance. Symbols used to communicate are the representations of narratives attempting to share some meaning. These narratives are open to a plethora of interpretations but in order to create a cohesive community leading institutions will push certain definitions. By the nature of their hegemony dominant societal classes will control narrative and moral understanding to protect their position. The narratological control of these groups props up symbols of authority and limits potential attitudes. Kenneth Burke studies this process in his Attitudes Toward History and comes to find that people either exist in an attitude of acceptance or rejection towards symbols of authority. This paper looks at how institutions seek to control and limit discourse, and the findings bring Burke’s theory into question. The power granted to dominant groups by the nature of their hegemony and the central role played by institutions in ideological dissemination erases the possibility of a true rejection. As such the attitudes presented by Burke as existing in a frame of rejection are more aligned with those that appear during transitional periods. Burke’s attitudes of rejection do not actually seek to reject a frame but seek to expand it in order to protect against a potential collapse.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Hovden, Jan

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.