Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Mehdi Bozorgmehr

Subject Categories

Discourse and Text Linguistics | Library and Information Science | Politics and Social Change


Critical Discourse Analysis; Knowledge Organization


Recent debates on immigration policies have included a discursive contest over the representation of unauthorized immigrants, in both the news media and the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), a subject indexing system administered by the Library of Congress. Using a mixed methods approach from a critical discourse analysis perspective, I examine the responses of the news media and the Library of Congress to societal pressures for change, showing how the Library’s complex institutional position can constrain its responses. Those obstacles, when combined with the characteristics of the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) as a linguistic tool for information retrieval, mean that the LCSH can legitimize and reinforce established discourses. While the LCSH’s power is mitigated by the coexistence of many other systems of knowledge representation, the LCSH continue to be an influential system, and it is important to consider how and why some changes can be difficult to make in this classification system.