Date: May 2004
Creator: Stoutmeyer, Stacie L.
Description: This thesis examines whether the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks caused a significant, lasting change in the American public's social construction of reality. A framework of everyday reality was created which focused on beliefs, behaviors, and cultural institutions in the United States. Data regarding specific beliefs and behaviors was collected from numerous survey sources, and content analysis was performed on media literature from September 11, 2001 to September 11, 2003. Findings from this study show that beliefs examined did change, while behaviors on similar topics did not. These finding represents an interesting paradox to be evaluated in future studies. Cultural institutions, as related to the public's knowledge of and relationship with each, also appeared little changed. Therefore, while some aspects displayed adjustment, this study cannot conclusively state that American public's social construction of reality experienced a "new reality" paradigm shift as proclaimed by the media immediately following the attacks.
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