Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Charles E. Morris III


Chicago, Chiraq, necropolitical skepticism, necropolitics, war metaphor, war on drugs

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences



This Master's thesis explores the deployment and appropriation of the war metaphor as it relates to criminal justice policy in the United States from 1930 forward, paying close attention to the 1980s and 2010s. More specifically, this thesis centers on the city of Chicago to analyze the use of the war metaphor throughout the city's history, from earlier invocations by Mayors to present- day, local appropriations in the form of the metaphor Chiraq, which blends Chicago and Iraq as a statement to the conditions of some of Chicago's most resource deprived neighborhoods. Using Lakoff and Johnson's (1980) Conceptual Metaphor Theory I will outline how the war metaphor has been studied in rhetoric and utilized in Presidential, Mayoral, and media discourses in chapter one. In chapter two, I will turn my attention to fragments organized around the metaphorical term Chiraq and apply CMT to highlight how the war metaphor has become a central component of daily language in Chicago's most volatile neighborhoods.


Open Access