Date of Award

Spring 5-28-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

David Boromisza-Habashi

Second Advisor

Karen Lee Ashcraft

Third Advisor

Leah Sprain


Scholars from different perspectives in communication and related fields have prolifically studied meetings. Since Schwartzman's (1989) seminal research on meetings, scholars have studied this communicative form to find insight on how this form is conducted and how identities, communities, and cultures are constituted through meetings. In my study I take two perspectives to examine meetings: the ethnography of communication and ventriloquism. I use each perspective to view the meetings of Suicide Prevention Campaign, a small nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania. With the ethnography of communication, I examine the cultural form and function of these meetings, with particular attention on how metacommunication reflects changing norms of interpretation. Then, using ventriloquism, I examine how meetings serve as a gatekeeping figure for the organization. The study contributes to both perspectives a new way of viewing meetings, suggests recommendations to practitioners, and proposes a potential combination between the ethnography of communication and ventriloquism.

Included in

Communication Commons