Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

First Committee Member

Donovan Conley

Number of Pages



This thesis will examine different ways people consciously manipulate their bodies in order to express selfhood, articulate identities, fulfill desires, and signal social and political commitments. The major premise of this research is that bodies are rhetorically constructed through a series of fundamental assumptions about selfhood, social ideals and acceptability, and political struggle. This paper argues that there are no a priori distinctions between the various practices and meanings of body modification. The way we think about body modification is based on a series of assumptions that define each practice. This project will look at three different groupings of modification organized around the subjective desires they express: Those articulating desires about (1) Interiority; (2) Acceptability; and (3) Struggle. I problematize the assumptions underlying these practices in order to gain insight into the sheer rhetoricity of the body, and to exemplify the central role rhetoric has in framing the uses and functions of our bodies.


Bodily; Poetics; Politics; Rhetorical; Self

Controlled Subject

Rhetoric; Communication

File Format


File Size

4003.84 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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