The Battle of Deer Creek Crossing: A Case Study of Rhetorical Exigence and Environmental Controversy

by Bannon, Michael John

Abstract (Summary)
THE BATTLE OF DEER CREEK CROSSING: A Case Study of Rhetorical Exigence and Environmental Rhetoric Michael John Bannon, PhD University of Pittsburgh, 2006 This dissertation is a case study that analyzes rhetorical tactics and strategies surrounding the environmental public argument over the fate of Deer Creek Crossing, a proposed commercial development in Western Pennsylvanias Allegheny River valley within three miles of the birthplace of pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson. Drawing predominantly from primary sources, it contributes to our understanding of how lengthy rhetorical processes evolve and what influences them. The study shows that the analysis of context as manifested in the rhetorical situation and analyzed through a rhetorical history framework can clarify both singular events and prolonged argumentative processes by uncovering aspects of those events and processes which may be less apparent in a more narrowly focused study of individual rhetorical artifacts. The opening chapter provides necessary background and lays out the theoretical foundation supporting the analysis of the Deer Creek Crossing controversy. Chapter two analyzes the use and misuse of public forums, including the press, in governmental decision-making associated with the Deer Creek Crossing case. Chapter three investigates the adaptation of arguments and changes in tone in response to exigencies and constraints arising from the denial of the first permit application. Chapter four reconstructs the rhetorical decision-making process that led to the deployment of Rachel Carsons name, analyzes the argumentation arising in opposition, and examines the fight for scientific authority. Chapter five evaluates the decision-making processes of regulatory agencies charged with approving environmental permits, as well as the intricate and highly structured legal processes that dominated courtrooms, in which the last and most decisive actions were undertaken. Chapter six explores the implications of the Deer Creek Crossing case for environmental rhetoric and for the effect of particular strategies and tactics on environmental public argument from the perspective of environmental activists, of developers, and for rhetorical scholarship.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Stephen Farber; Lester Olson; William Fusfield; Gordon Mitchell

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:communication rhetoric and


Date of Publication:10/06/2006

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