Peace Corps in the 21st Century: A Rhetorical Analysis

Open Access
Maugh, Casey Malone
Graduate Program:
Communication Arts and Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 29, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Stephen Howard Browne, Committee Chair
  • James Hogan, Committee Member
  • Rosa A Eberly, Committee Member
  • Jeanne Lynn Hall, Committee Member
  • Peace Corps
  • rhetoric
  • visual rhetoric
In 1961 John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps. After 45 years of continual international service, the organization has nearly 8,000 volunteers serving in 67 countries throughout the world. Throughout the years the organization has struggled to gain presidential support and funding, as well as recruit well-rounded volunteers. After years of falling volunteer numbers, in 2003, the Peace Corps revamped its campaign to appeal to a broader volunteer audience. The recruitment strategies differ from those in the 1960s, appealing to the pragmatic benefits of service rather than the idealistic appeals used in the early years of the organization. This work includes an analysis of the organization’s recruitment strategies both textual and visual as well as an analysis of volunteer accounts of service. This study culminates in a look toward the future of the organization, in hopes of revealing the direction of the Peace Corps in the 21st century.