Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Lauren Lemley

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Lynette Sharp Penya


Humans have found countless ways to create and consume media. Particularly, the world loves to consume music. With the variety of music available at any given moment due to streaming services and radio, musicians now must compete harder than ever for their popularity. An artist now must create something new and exciting that sets him or her apart from every other artist, highlighting the importance of novelty. One artist who used novelty as a key to her success is Taylor Swift. Using image and roles from the concept of persona and Standpoint Theory, I created a theoretical framework to rhetorically analyze Taylor Swift’s novelty throughout her career. I then selected three albums for analysis, and included four songs, at least one live performance, and one music video from each album to answer my research question: How do rhetors create novelty in the music industry? Through my analysis, I found that by setting up a simple persona at the start of her career, Swift proactively created space for her persona to change. Swift then was able to incorporate changes into her image and roles, making both subtle changes to show how she has matured and major changes to show that she is gaining new understandings of life and fame. Swift’s use of persona creates novelty in the music industry as she shows that musicians do not need to completely change who they are but can establish themselves through their rhetorical persona and changes to that persona.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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