First Advisor

Margesson, Robert

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Gosselin, Abigail


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

134 pages


Michael Calvin McGee argues that the ideograph is a commonplace term that normalizes a people to a political myth, and therefore creates an assent to the dominating ideology. Taking this as my inspiration I wish to apply this conception of rhetoric to the term "poverty." Specifically, I have chosen to address the political myth of the War on Poverty in relation to the political understanding and application of the coercive power of the State. Poverty is then a term that justifies the use of the political State, but also creates a paradigm for the viewing of social relations that function within the myth of power. Poverty becomes the battleground for wider discussions of what the American people look to in the identitarian object, and at the same time the role that the State plays in the first place. Drawing upon the work of Cornel West, Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, and other prominent Marxist thinkers, this thesis traces the myth of the State as a viable option for the alleviation of poverty through the past 60 years of American history. Moving from the War on Poverty I trace the continuing narrative into the modem days attempts taken about by the Obama Administration. It is my argument that in order to adequately address the real harms of the violence of poverty we need to break from the myth of poverty as an economic issue, and instead look to the issue as one of the oppression of a communal politic.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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