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Graduate Defense: Daniel Amoruso

September 20 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Dissertation Defense

Dissertation Information

Title: An Exploration Of Refugee Policy Using Social Construction Theory & The Narrative Policy Framework

Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration

Advisor: Dr. Michael Allen, School of Public Service

Committee Members: Dr. Luke Fowler, School of Public Service (Co-Chair); Dr. Chris Birdsall, School of Public Service and Dr. Saleh Ahmed, School of Public Service


Social Construction Theory and Narrative Policy Framework are cohesive products to assess policymaking by examining social construction variables and the formation of narratives. Although I use each independently and together, using them in conjunction helps to ascertain the difference between what someone does and says. Often, there is a substantive disconnect between the two. As with many policy arenas, interest in refugee policy has ebbed and flowed over the past ten years as the United States fluctuates from Democrat to Republican and back to Democrat administrations. Various administrations, media outlets, and separate communities often portray refugees differently; some favorably toward refugees, and some do so negatively. Using Social Construction Theory and Narrative Policy Framework, I explore how various entities or individuals verbally portray their interpretation of the refugee population’s deservedness compared to their actions or lack thereof in refugee policy. Using the three-essay dissertation model, I evaluate what changed since the completion of a similar dissertation in 2017 exploring refugee policy; I assess what policymakers say about refugee policy, how a federal administration’s refugee narrative possibly influenced a state leader’s narrative, and the treatment and portrayal of the refugee population and the policymakers influencing refugee policy in Boise, Idaho, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Trump administration was an outlier regarding refugee policy, yet not much has changed since 2017. The federal narrative (mostly Trump) likely influenced Governor Abbott’s narrative, and policymakers do not struggle with differentiating between different yet similar populations. Additionally, this policy arena lacks adequate attention from public policy researchers. Exploring refugee policy using policy theories should help expand the interest of policy researchers.