The role of music in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) New York (OWS-NY) movement is studied using fantasy theme analysis. This is a qualitative study that employed rhetorical criticism. The research questioning guiding this study is "How have musicians' song selections worked to encourage protesters to continue, and other citizens to start, rallying for the OWS cause?" Lyrics from songs performed by six different musical acts at OWS-NY were analyzed. The lyrics provided a rhetorical vision that depicted wealthy men, bankers, CEOs, etc. manipulating the United States government and economy for their own personal gains. The use of folk and hip-hop music broadened the audience base for the movement. Technology lessened the impact of some of the lyrical messages. And the number of issues raised in the lyrics were found to make the goal and purpose of OWS difficult to pinpoint.


Bostdorff, Denise


Communication Studies


Communication Technology and New Media | Social Influence and Political Communication


occupy wall street, song lyrics, folk music, hip-hop music, fantasy theme analysis, music as protest, music in social movements

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Nathan Keck