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In this article, I analyze how writers for newspapers in the American South used a culturally salient story about the past—the Myth of the Lost Cause—to make sense of an event in the present—the First Russo-Chechen War (1994–1996). I take a Proppian approach, according to which a story’s plot is defined as a set of functions, or generalized acts that influence course of the story’s action. Stories that appear to be different thus can share the same plot, inasmuch as they are composed of the same functions. I argue that, to construct narratives about the First Russo-Chechen War, Southern news writers substituted concrete actions from the conflict in Chechnya into the familiar functions that make up the plot of the Lost Cause. I use a combination of discourse analysis and qualitative content analysis to show how those functions appear in five Southern news accounts of the First Russo-Chechen War.
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- Lost Cause-ism in American Southerners’ News Writing About the First Russo-Chechen War (1994–1996)
- Springer US