Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Committee Chair

Maryann Erigha

Committee Member

Carol Rambo

Committee Member

Andre Johnson


The Indigenous population of the United States remains a neglected demographic in sociological research. Scholars in other disciplines, and few in sociology, have studied a wide range of issues within the Native Americans populations, including health, socioeconomics, political representation, and law. However, few have researched the emergent controversy over media representations and identity. Although academics from several disciplines have examined Native American Mascots and other such images, few have noted the ways in which those who identify as Native (American) talk about such representations in regard to their identity. For this study, research was conducted to examine the ways Native American Caricature Iconography (NACI) yield narrative resources for Native Americans’ identity formation. Racial Formation Theory, as well as concepts of Biographical Identity Work, and Dramaturgy serve to frame these materials. Through semi-structured, in-person interviews, the following questions were posed: How do American Indian’s talk about NACI portrayals of their culture(s)? What effects do these respondents claim the use of NACIs have on their a) identity, b) well-being, and c) stereotypes of Native Americans? The findings of this study suggest that study participants use resistance and biographical identity work to negotiate their identity within specific racial formation projects that are informed by NACI, affirming previous research on social representation, while providing further insight to how Native American Caricature Iconography affects their racial identity and self-worth.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.