Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Lois Presser

Committee Members

Lois Presser, Michelle Brown, Tyler Wall, Jennifer Fleetwood


This dissertation examines how stories shape both the perpetration of sexual harassment and the experiences of victims during and after sexual harassment. During and after the experience of sexual harassment, a narrative contest transpires between the harasser, victim, and others who contribute to the contest by engaging in the formal and informal conversations that follow known experiences of harassment in the workplace. I analyze 22 public statements, interviews, and investigative reports, including statements from men accused of sexual harassment, women who were sexually harassed, and bystanders. A narrative framework, including concepts of narrative believability and story credibility, is used to theorize the entrenchment of sexual harassment and its race and gender patterns. I discern how narrative contests between harassers and victims of sexual harassment influence action and inaction, and thereby support harm but may inform resistance.

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