Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminal Justice


Holyfield, Lori

Committee Member/Reader

Jackson, Brandon

Committee Member/Second Reader

House, Glenda

Committee Member/Third Reader

Stauss, Kim


This research examines the social role of protest music in wartime eras through lyrical content analysis. By analyzing songs across the Vietnam War era and the Iraq War era, the shifting role of protest music across generations reveals not only how this music influences and encourages different social aggregates, but also how it adapts to remain relevant in a continuously modernizing American society. This research thus serves to demonstrate the impact of narratives in social movements and the sway narratives have in shaping public perspectives through their encouragement of solidarity between diverse social groups. Methodology includes narrative analysis of two representative samples of protest music pertinent to each of the two war eras, and qualitative lyrical examination of these songs in comparison and contrast both within and across each era. This method of narrative analysis utilizes the structure of formula stories as a model for determining the effect of protest music through symbolic and emotion codes present in the lyrical melodramas, and how these melodramas depict the need for protest and anti-war sentiment by serving as passionate calls to action behind which audiences belonging to diverse social aggregates can rally in solidarity.

Keywords: war, protest music, narrative analysis, melodramas, social movements

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