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Americans all! The role of advertising in re-imaging ethnicity in America: the case of the war advertising council, 1939-1945

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Date Issued:
2014
Summary:
Throughout America’s history the call for laborers has been filled by influxes of immigrants. Coinciding with the arrival of the first non-Anglo Saxon immigrants were negative attitudes about them, as they were deemed inferior and classified as lowerranking “others” by the dominant culture that needed them. Thus, the cycle of need and resentment was born to be repeated throughout the Nation’s history. In the first half of the twentieth century a shift occurred in American public perception of, and attitudes towards, immigrant groups including eastern European Jews, Italians and the Irish among others. This shift was marked primarily in terms of race: Some immigrants went from being considered black to white -- from illegitimate to legitimate by the dominant culture. One reason for the increased acceptance of these ethnic groups was a concerted campaign sponsored by the United States Government to promote an extended identity to groups that had previously been excluded from the mainstream. In particular, the goal was to create a sense of nationalism, or “Americanism,” among diasporic immigrant groups, thus encouraging their participation in the war effort. The result of such campaigns was a re-imaging of ethnic groups previously classified as non-white and a path to perceived whiteness, and thus inclusion, for them. These campaigns, formulated by the Office of War Information and executed largely by the War Advertising Council, led to a marked increase in acceptance for immigrant groups by the dominant culture. By examining social messages through visual cultural artifacts this study explores notions about race, ethnicity, whiteness and the role of communication theory and practices in constructing (imaging) an identity of otherness.” This study delineates the historical formation and subsequent partial de-construction (re-imaging) of negative depictions and some stereotypes of ethnic Americans. This research explores the sources of these attitudes and behaviors and how misconceptions, misrepresentations and centuries-old stereotypes of non-Anglo ethnic Americans have been fluid through changing social perceptions fueled, in part, by government interventions.
Title: Americans all! The role of advertising in re-imaging ethnicity in America: the case of the war advertising council, 1939-1945.
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Name(s): May, Jacqueline S., author
Fejes, Fred A., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2014
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 273 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Throughout America’s history the call for laborers has been filled by influxes of immigrants. Coinciding with the arrival of the first non-Anglo Saxon immigrants were negative attitudes about them, as they were deemed inferior and classified as lowerranking “others” by the dominant culture that needed them. Thus, the cycle of need and resentment was born to be repeated throughout the Nation’s history. In the first half of the twentieth century a shift occurred in American public perception of, and attitudes towards, immigrant groups including eastern European Jews, Italians and the Irish among others. This shift was marked primarily in terms of race: Some immigrants went from being considered black to white -- from illegitimate to legitimate by the dominant culture. One reason for the increased acceptance of these ethnic groups was a concerted campaign sponsored by the United States Government to promote an extended identity to groups that had previously been excluded from the mainstream. In particular, the goal was to create a sense of nationalism, or “Americanism,” among diasporic immigrant groups, thus encouraging their participation in the war effort. The result of such campaigns was a re-imaging of ethnic groups previously classified as non-white and a path to perceived whiteness, and thus inclusion, for them. These campaigns, formulated by the Office of War Information and executed largely by the War Advertising Council, led to a marked increase in acceptance for immigrant groups by the dominant culture. By examining social messages through visual cultural artifacts this study explores notions about race, ethnicity, whiteness and the role of communication theory and practices in constructing (imaging) an identity of otherness.” This study delineates the historical formation and subsequent partial de-construction (re-imaging) of negative depictions and some stereotypes of ethnic Americans. This research explores the sources of these attitudes and behaviors and how misconceptions, misrepresentations and centuries-old stereotypes of non-Anglo ethnic Americans have been fluid through changing social perceptions fueled, in part, by government interventions.
Identifier: FA00004136 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2014.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Advertising Council -- History -- 20th century
Americanization -- History -- 20th century
Immigrants -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Immigrants -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Public opinion -- United States -- History -- 20th century
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Propaganda
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004136
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004136
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.