Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminal Justice


Lori Holyfield

Committee Member

Steven Worden

Second Committee Member

Juan J. Bustamante


This thesis examines the presence of widely circulating cultural narratives in the lyrics of approximately eighty anti-war songs from the Vietnam and post-9/11 eras. Unlike prior movements and music research, this thesis privileges culture over movements and views movements as cultural antennae both picking up on trends and cultural narratives, and broadcasting their own altered cultural meanings back into the “cultural airways.” It sees music as a cultural medium which acquires cultural meanings from its surroundings, alters those meanings, synthesizes new ones, and perpetuates old ones. Drawing on comparative and narrative analysis approaches informed by grounded theory techniques, this thesis finds evidence for a major shift over time from a focus on death and destruction and a countercultural vision to a focus on government mistrust and global anti-imperialism.