The purpose of this study was to identify whether and how the particular words people use, particularly elected delegates, affect the success of those policies in state legislatures. Specifically, to identify any links between dominant frames or language used and the dominant political culture, synthesizing Entman’s theory of frame contestation and Elazar’s pluriversal theory of predominant and minority political cultures existing in each jurisdiction. Additionally, I wanted to figure out why “red states”, or states that have had consistently majority-Republican governments, particularly where both* chambers at the same time for multiple consecutive sessions are majority-Republican, have similar partisanship and similar physical geography but varying incentive policy concerning renewable energy. I propose that given a known direct relationship between social and cultural factors like political culture on the success of (renewable energy incentive) policy, policy in a given state would contain more words (and therefore frames) associated with the dominant political culture of that state than words associated with other political cultures not dominant in that state, and that party platforms would have a stronger homogeneity in frames between each other than would bills enacting the same type of policy across states, reflecting the top-down federated organization of a national political party. Following Elazar’s political culture classifications I expect Nebraska documents to have a higher frequency of Individualist words than of other political cultures, Kansas documents to have a higher frequency of Moralistic words than of other political cultures, and Oklahoma documents to have a higher frequency of Traditionalistic words than of other political cultures. I break down each of Elazar’s three categories of political culture—Moralistic, Individualistic, and Traditionalistic—and assemble dictionaries of associated and lexically prototypical words for each category, to search for in three different policy types, GOP party platforms, and some additional sources (where one state had not passed the particular policy) in three different states, controlling for partisan composition of legislatures throughout the same time period, and for available wind power resources. I employ content analysis of these documents to identify word frequency and track presence of words per culture per each document in KH Coder, a computative linguistics program based on R. The results were mixed: Nebraska followed the hypothesis the most closely, having both a higher proportion of words from the Individualist dictionary being present than that of other political culture dictionaries, and a higher absolute frequency of Individualistic-associated words than of other political cultures. In Kansas, the proportion of Moralistic-coded words was higher than of other words; although there were fewer types of Individualist words, they were used more frequently than Moralistic words. In Oklahoma, neither diversity nor frequency of words matched the hypothesized dominance of Traditionalistic words—Individualistic was more common for both, although in frequency, Traditionalistic was a close second-most frequent.


van Doorn, Bas


Political Science


American Politics | Energy and Utilities Law | Environmental Law | Environmental Studies | Human Geography | Place and Environment | Social Influence and Political Communication


framing, political culture, renewable energy, environmental politics, policy diffusion

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2020 Robert Agle