This project reports on the results of a study that investigated the social networking use of student and non-student veterans, with a particular focus on the narrative building and identity presentation practices involved in this use. In this dissertation, I argue that stereotypical and exclusionary tropes of the veteran, such as the veteran as war hero and the veteran as wounded warrior, are damaging to our veterans and to others, in both the society and the classroom. However, through the detailed analysis of survey data and data collected from an interview and social networking profile tour with one student veteran participant, I highlight the exclusionary nature of these tropes and argue that the complex digital narratives crafted in social networking spaces can offer resistance to popular tropes of the veteran. The complexity of my participants' digital narratives also offers support for the argument that elements of one's social networking profiles, when viewed independently and decontextualized, can lead to invalid and unfair assumptions about the users' identity. Additionally, I argue that, for my participants, many of whom demonstrated a nuanced and critical understanding of audience, decisions to self-identify as military personnel in social networking spaces are intertwined with perceptions of privacy. Finally, this project culminates in the identification of a number of digital literacy practices present in my participants' social networking use, as well as a set of pedagogical and programmatic recommendations for writing teachers and writing program administrators interested in aiding student veterans in the process of transition and reintegration.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Texts and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Branham, Cassandra, "Wounded Warrior or War Hero? Or Maybe, Neither?: Resisting Common Tropes of the Veteran and Developing Digital Literacy Practices via Narrative Building and Identity Presentation in Social Networking Spaces" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5109.