Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Emanuela Guano - Chair

Second Advisor

Kathryn A. Kozaitis

Third Advisor

Susan McCombie

Fourth Advisor

Cassandra White


Marriage has come to be center-stage in a semiotic and ideological “culture war.” The issue of same-sex marriage has emerged as a defining political argument shaping the manner by which the contemporary gay rights movement positions itself. In Georgia’s 2004 election, a constitutional amendment was proposed defining marriage as legal unions between only biological men and women. In response, campaigns were organized by both supporters and opponents to same-sex marriage. This thesis examines the politics of spectacle at play through which both sides of this argument positioned themselves. This thesis employs anthropological theory, queer theory and public sphere literature to illuminate the campaign against same-sex marriage as one of not only the denial of citizenship rights, but of identity recognition. The methods of theatricality employed by both sides of this debate are examined alongside the manners by which they represented themselves as legitimate voices in the fight over “marriage.”


Included in

Anthropology Commons