Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Jon Shefner

Committee Members

Harry Dahms, Lois Presser


Social movement theory and research has produced ample works on national movements and progressive movements, but gaps persist in our understanding of conservative advocacy as social movements and the ways in which groups which hold power organize to identify and address challenges to their positions. Through analyzing state-level conservative social movements, we can examine the marginalizing legislation which continues to be passed at the cost of LGBT+ groups and the ways in which conservative social movements form coalitions and support action on conservative issues. While national-level funding analyses have called attention to the ways class connections maintain power, there is more work to be done to understand how dominant groups form coalitions and propel interests onto state legislatures’ agendas. To examine these issues, I research the monetary and ideological connections between Tennessee state politicians and conservative social groups. Through a binary logistic regression, I attempt to answer the questions: (1) “Does funding from anti-LGBT organizations predict politicians’ voting practices at the state-level?”, and (2) “Does funding from anti-LGBT organizations predict politicians’ likelihood of sponsoring anti-LGBT legislation?” The results of these regressions are analyzed in the context of their implications towards policy and the role of monetary connections in setting politicians’ agendas. Furthermore, I perform a critical discourse analysis utilizing collective action framing to contextualize monetary relationships and examine how conservative ideas are relayed to the public to garner support. This discourse analysis serves to deepen the contextualization of anti-LGBT+ agendas and the passage of such laws.

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