Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

2017

Thesis Director

Elizabeth Gill

Abstract

Steven Avery, a Wisconsin native, has spent the majority of his adult life in prison, once for a crime he was later exonerated from, and then again for murder. The Netflix series Making a Murderer documents Avery's murder trial, and uses only first hand accounts. Ultimately, this research had two goals: one was to better understand how the series utilized framing to engage in advocacy for Avery and the second was to uncover what identity was constructed by the producers and series for Avery. With a thematic analysis approach and open and axial coding this research revealed three themes that were prevalent throughout the series that ultimately show that framing to engage in advocacy for Avery was present throughout the series as well as those three themes to help craft an image for Avery. Those three themes included: the white trash stereotype, the underdog, and the victim. Along with the three themes, examples of statements and imagery are provided to demonstrate the occurrence of the white trash stereotype, the underdog, and the victim in the series Making a Murderer.

Graduate Program

Communication Studies

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