Communication ETDs

Publication Date



In this study I describe how individuals living in Laredo, Texas, a city situated in the U.S.-Mexico border region, make sense of their identities through their experiences in the Washington Birthday Celebration (WBC). By focusing on communication as means for creating cultural identities, this study provides insight into how communication is used in the construction and performance of cultural identities. Specifically, I focus on The Society of Martha Washington, one of the several affiliate organizations that participates in the WBC, in order to answer the following research questions about the enactment of cultural identities in the WBC: (1) What cultural identities are enacted at the WBC and how do participants use communication to enact these expressed identities? (2) How do participants enact their cultural identities beyond the WBC? I argue that although the WBC is intended to foster a collective identity, it poses a problematic contradiction since it implicates the enactment of various identities wherein status differentials are enhanced.




cultural identity, performance, border identity

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Covarrubias, Patricia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Rodríguez, Ilia

Second Committee Member

Getrich, Christina