Historically, a trend has been demonstrated in intercollegiate debate. Debate organizations begin with a focus on rhetoric aimed at a public audience and within an average of two decades devolve into a highly technical format marked by a high rate of speed, use of nuanced technical jargon, and an overreliance on evidence. The focus on competitive success, culture, and judges are examined as contributors to this trend. The International Public Debate Association was created to sociologically combat the excesses of its predecessors, though sixteen years after its creation it is beginning to show symptoms of the same disease that afflicted the others. This study conducted an organizational autoethnography, through the medium of documentary film, as a biopsy of the disease's progress. Interviews with organizational founders, coaches, and competitors were conducted and filmed. Clips of the each interview were arranged and organized in a manner informed by Grounded Theory and produced into a documentary film. Results indicated that the fetishization of information is the primary cause of the change to intercollegiate debate organizations including IPDA.
Date of Degree
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Arts and Humanities
Key, A. M. (2014). Going Public: An Organizational Autoethnographic Exploration of the International Public Debate Association [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/347/
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