Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Emma F. Bloomfield
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
Critical rhetoricians and legal communication studies scholars have long recognized that rhetoric and ideology are inherent to legal structures, shaping legislation and impacting the lives of those such laws are meant to address. Fewer look to, not just civic discourses, but also the vernacular discourse surrounding such institutions, shaping the ideologies that support it. There is a need, however, for the study of outlaw discourses to both help define ideographs and challenge their very existence through contrasting outlaw and hegemonic logics. Thus, this thesis examines debates over A.B. 166, a Nevada state law meant to alleviate sex trafficking, by establishing the crime of “advancing prostitution” and argues that the civic, vernacular, and outlaw discourses influence the construction of the ideograph of victimhood. Through a critical history of sex trafficking in Nevada, as well as an ideographic rhetorical criticism of A.B. 166, the Nevada Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee meeting minutes concerning the law, and the relevant local news, I will explain how the ideograph of victimhood came to be and its impact on Nevada. Additionally, I make the argument that the ideograph of victimhood has become a rhetorical tool within abolitionist ideology, making gendered and racialized assumptions about sex trafficking victims that ultimately end up hurting both trafficking victims and sex workers alike. Criticisms such as these are necessary to unpack the hidden ideologies in legal discourse.
Critical Rhetoric; Ideograph; Ideology; Sex Trafficking
History | Law | Rhetoric
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Thies, Samantha, "Resisting ‘Raid-and-Rescue’: Capturing the Ideograph of Victimhood in Nevada Law A.B. 166" (2020). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 4029.
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