No Jack Kennedy

October 21, 2011

My latest academic study has been published in Communication Studies. Here is the citation:

Kaylor, B. T. (2011). No Jack Kennedy: Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech and the changing religious-political environment. Communication Studies, 62, 491-507.
Here is the abstract:
In December of 2007, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney traveled to Texas to give an address on religion and politics. The speech was heralded by many as Romney's "JFK moment." This study explores the campaign religion speeches of Kennedy and Romney by considering various issues concerning context, audience, and content of the two speeches. Guiding this analysis is Roderick Hart's work on the civil-religious contract and Kenneth Burke's work on dramatistic analysis, which are utilized to demonstrate that--despite the media's proclamations--Romney's speech represented a stark shift from Kennedy's rhetorical approach. Implications are drawn concerning the differences between the two speeches and an understanding of the confessional political style guiding the intersection of religion and politics today.
With questions about Romney's Mormonism arising in this presidential cycle, this study on how he handled it during his previous run is quite timely. Clearly, these questions will continue in our age of confessional politics.

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