Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Second Advisor

Dr. Zoanne Snyder

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Wait

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


This case study will examine the claims between the U. S. Government and David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. This study, using the Waco incident, will attempt to explain how unconventional groups develop into social problems. This research project will use social constructionist theory in an attempt to explain how David Koresh and the Branch Davidians became a government target. This project was designed as a case study using secondary sources to investigate claims making activity by the U. S. Government and how this led to the decision by the government to a raid of the residence of this religious group that resulted in over eighty deaths.

This case study's premise was supported and validated by Spector and Kitsuse's social constructionist model of social problems. Social constructionism theoretically explained how this group became a social problem and why this incident occurred by exploring the claims making activity of the primary participants and its impact to raid the residence of Mt. Carmel. This study's intent was to construct how groups become social problems, but also to initiate further research on how situations similar to this in the future may be solved successfully without the same tragic results as Waco, Texas.

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