Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Rachel Hall

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences



This thesis is interested in the ways that documentary photojournalism of economic hardship has changed in response to a neoliberal context. Analysis is centered on photographer Anthony Suau’s photo essay “Struggling Cleveland,” captured for TIME magazine in 2008. Suau’s photographs of economic hardship break from a tradition of photojournalism that focused on drama and emotion. I consider what appears and does not appear in the photographs, with particular attention to how the neoliberal context influences the content and mode of address of the photos. The photographs are analyzed independently for the ways that neoliberalism appears within each frame and collectively, allowing for a critical viewer to gain an understanding of how discrete events might be connected via an interactive reading practice. Suau’s sociological and narrative approach for covering the housing crisis allows the viewer to construct their own meaning and judgment of the event.


Open Access



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