Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Lois Presser

Committee Members

Hoan Bui, Michelle Brown, Patrick Grzanka


The new millennium has seen various initiatives implemented to prevent and curb anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) bullying in the United States. These initiatives include anti-discrimination policies and programs that raise awareness about LGBT identities and diversity in schools. Conservative reaction against these initiatives, in the form of both legislation and rhetoric, has been swift. The dissertation examines how opponents of prevention and intervention (OPI) have used discourse to resist the efforts of curbing and preventing anti-LGBT bullying in schools. Specifically, I undertake an investigation of how opponents of prevention initiatives used diagnostic and motivational frames – concepts from Snow and Benford’s collective action theory and Loseke’s extension better known as social problems construction. My particular concern is with the designation of and mobilization around social problems (anti-bullying) vis-à-vis an already-designated problem (bullying). My analysis suggests a variety of messages about bullying (not a big deal) and the ‘real’ offenders (activists), and devices to motivate action – both substantive (e.g., persecution rhetoric) and discursive (e.g., orientational metaphors). These frames redefine harm and arouse concern to preserve privilege and hegemony and to reverse progress toward tolerance and equity in schools.

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Criminology Commons