Document Type

Synthesis Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Professional Communication


Professional Communication

First Advisor

Irwin Mallin (Chair)

Committee Members

Steven A. Carr, Marcia D. Dixson

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2016


This paper explores the use of the term “family” when involved in a performance activity, specifically color guard. Color guard involves the flags, rifles, sabres, and dancers that perform with the marching band on a football field and in a gymnasium to prerecorded music. It is often described as being the visual representation of the music. Interviews, surveys, and analysis of social media posts of current and former performers, instructors, designers, and parent supporters were used to analyze the feelings and reasoning in the application of the family metaphor to color guard. Also discussed is how the family metaphor expresses cohesiveness in the subculture and how competition influences the use of the family metaphor. The unique combination of a subculture in a competitive atmosphere is what makes color guard an interesting and appropriate activity to study.


color guard, family, metaphor, subculture, competition


Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Other Communication