Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of this study was to examine the content of 186 war related letters to the editor written to TheTennessean and The Washington Post during three time periods during the Persian Gulf War. The time periods included the week before, of, and after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the beginning of the air war, and the beginning of the ground war. Content analysis was used to document patterns of and differences in letter content between papers. A qualitative analysis based on symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology revealed symbol use and use of ethnomethods among writers. Almost 2 5% of the letters were coded as personal attacks. Significant differences were found with the newspaper in which the letter was published and the time period in which it was published as independent variables. Sex of the letter writer was not significantly related to any of the variables under study.



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