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dc.contributor.authorLaws, Meghan
dc.contributor.otherQueen's University (Kingston, Ont.). Theses (Queen's University (Kingston, Ont.))en
dc.date.accessioned2018-11-07T15:55:46Z
dc.date.available2018-11-07T15:55:46Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/25656
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front’s construction and deployment of political rhetoric and symbols as key facets of authoritarian resilience and ethnic ‘control’ in post-genocide Rwanda. It identifies four overlapping and mutually reinforcing rhetorical ‘pillars’ that comprise Rwanda’s ‘public relations machine.’ These include: historical closure, and the promotion of a singular ‘Truth’; neo-traditionalism, and the ‘revival’ of pre-colonial values and practices to shape notions of model citizenship; national unity and reconciliation, and the ‘restoration’ of a unifying Rwandan identity; and economic development in line with the ‘Singaporean miracle’. Relatedly, the dissertation scrutinizes how the PR machine weaves together these pillars to craft a narrative of Rwanda’s recovery that reproduces power at home, and generates support for regime persistence abroad, despite the government of Rwanda’s questionable human rights record, authoritarian tendencies, and entrenched (albeit veiled) structures of ethnic domination. In addition to ‘building’ the PR machine, the dissertation also examines whether its content and deployment has shifted during the RPF’s nearly 25-years in power. It finds a striking continuity in the RPF’s rhetorical universe during ‘normal’ and emergency periods, the main difference being the regime’s ‘securitization’ of its rhetorical repertoire during ‘episodes of contestation’, while defining itself as the true guardian of public order. From a theoretical perspective, the dissertation contributes to a burgeoning comparative literature on authoritarian durability by presenting Rwanda as an example of resilient ‘hegemonic authoritarianism’ and ethnic ‘control’, and by treating rhetorical displays of power as central to political processes rather than epiphenomenal. In this way, the dissertation also distinguishes itself from Ian Lustick’s classical account of ‘control’, which ignores the central role of legitimation discourse as a key endurance tool. Finally, by exploring (dis)continuities in regime rhetoric over time, the dissertation contributes to a small body of literature on rhetorical path dependency, which focuses on established democracies. My initial analysis of Rwanda suggests that autocrats, like democratic leaders, may suffer high costs when they deviate from an established rhetorical path, meaning that words, like institutions, are often ‘sticky.’ This renders wholesale transformations in publically-deployed ideology unlikely, especially when a regime experiences positive gains.en_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCanadian thesesen
dc.rightsQueen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canadaen
dc.rightsProQuest PhD and Master's Theses International Dissemination Agreementen
dc.rightsIntellectual Property Guidelines at Queen's Universityen
dc.rightsCopying and Preserving Your Thesisen
dc.rightsThis publication is made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws without written authority from the copyright owner.en
dc.subjectRwandaen_US
dc.subjectGreat Lakes of Africaen_US
dc.subjectPost-conflict state-buildingen_US
dc.subjectAuthoritarianismen_US
dc.subjectEthnic controlen_US
dc.subjectPolitical rhetoricen_US
dc.subjectDiscursive legitimationen_US
dc.subjectSocial Controlen_US
dc.title‘STICKY WORDS’ AND TWISTED TONGUES: Rhetoric, Symbols, and Regime Resilience in Post-Genocide Rwandaen_US
dc.typeThesisen
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen_US
dc.contributor.supervisorMcGarry, John
dc.contributor.departmentPolitical Studiesen_US
dc.embargo.termsI am applying for restricted status because I conducted research in Rwanda, a thinly-veiled military police state, and I was surveilled closely on the ground. Despite my very best efforts to anonymize all of the information I present in my thesis, I have legitimate and very real concerns about the physical security and livelihood of friends, colleagues and research participants with whom I communicate regularly, particularly given that I take a reasonably critical stance on the regime. I have removed several 'vignettes' from the original text I submitted to my committee to further protect participants in my research. Even so, I am not yet prepared to circulate my thesis to a wide audience, and if I move forward with publication, I will talk more extensively with the publisher and other colleagues about these concerns. I am confident a five year restriction on the revised thesis will reduce foreseeable risks, and my supervisor agrees.en_US
dc.embargo.liftdate2023-11-02T20:07:00Z
dc.embargo.liftdate2023-11-07T15:28:18Z


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