Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory J. Howard

Second Advisor

Dr. Paula Brush

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela M. Moe

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This research project empirically examines claims and counterclaims regarding the matter of college students credit cards issues from a social constructionist perspective through a contextual qualitative examination of public data. First, I first focus on social and historical factors that have brought about claims and counterclaims concerning college student credit card issues. Next, I examine the structure of these public issues through the claims and counterclaims from a purposeful sample made from three specific "owners" or claims-makers of college student credit card issues, including the credit card industry, consumer interest groups, and sociologists. The specific claims examined in this research project stem from the "owners" and whom they attribute causal and political responsibility to concerning college student credit card issues. Sociologist and consumer interest groups two main claims throughout the data frame the specific college student credit card issues of financial illiteracy and debt as social problems. The credit card industries main counterclaim is that there is no social problem. Through the examination of these claims a better understanding of claims-making activity can be understood by each claims-maker vying for power and control to become the "owner" of college student credit card issues.

Included in

Sociology Commons