Domesticating dissent: The Kennedys and the freedom rides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional critiques of social movements have generally explained the strategies of agitators, to the neglect of the discourse of social control which surrounds and frames the movement. Conversely, studies that examine the language of social control often focus on broad issues, such as the “public vocabulary” available to rhetors, rather than on the encounters between authorities and agitators. Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony offers a useful way to develop an alternative theoretical approach to the symbolic process of social control. Examination of the Kennedy Administration response to and press coverage of the Freedom Rides in 1961 demonstrates the critical power of an analysis of hegemony, revealing four strategies that domesticated the dissent of the Riders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages18
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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