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Envisioning electronic communication: A mythic analysis of the stop online piracy act and net neutrality

Adam Christopher Knowlton, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Since the dawn of electronic communication, controversy and debate has constantly surrounded the question: what is the appropriate role of electronic media in society? This dissertation takes a rhetorical approach in exploring the context and controversy surrounding our newest form of electronic communication, the internet. I argue that the internet represents a medium that is facilitating a cultural re-articulation of well-worn myths commonly associated with new technologies. I establish this claim through the exploration of two case studies. In my first case study I address the debate surrounding the 2011 Stop Online Piracy Act and its connection to the myth of the romantic genius. The second case study examines the Federal Trade Commission’s 2015 Net Neutrality Order and its relationship with the myth of democratic access. Within each of these case studies I utilize elements of historical criticism, mythic criticism, and the narrative paradigm to explore the divide between our cultural understanding regarding the myths of commodification and participation. Finally, I place both case studies in conversation with one another and discuss the implications of our evolving articulations of media and American society. I conclude that the internet represents a still evolving technology which comes closer than any medium before it to achieving the lofty goals of democratic participation ascribed to it.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Knowlton, Adam Christopher, "Envisioning electronic communication: A mythic analysis of the stop online piracy act and net neutrality" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10102726.