We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE


Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America

M. Jimmie Killingsworth and Jacqueline S. Palmer

Publication Year: 2012

This first book-length study of rhetoric and environmental politics calls for an end to the present oversimplified conflict between economic and evolutionary progress and suggests instead a continuum embracing the full range of human views of nature.

The authors use a systematic analysis of well-known works of nonfiction literature (by such authors as Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Barry Commoner, and Herman Daly) long neglected by literary, rhetorical, and cultural critics, as well as journalistic reports and stories, industry and activist polemics, government documents, textbooks, technical literature, and novels to show that rhetoric centered on the established dichotomy gives rise to ecospeak, which paralyzes instead of informing action.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (13.2 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (22.5 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (19.0 KB)
pp. ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (99.5 KB)
pp. xi-xii

The dilemma over the human relation to the natural world potentially involves every field of academie and practical endeavor. In our effort to understand the relationships among language, thought, and action in environmental politics, we have benefited by the published and unpublished writings of many...

read more

Introduction: Rhetoric and the Environmental Dilemma

pdf iconDownload PDF (966.6 KB)
pp. 1-21

Since the middle of the last century, human beings have become increasingly aware of the earth's vulnerability. Examining the results of humankind's technological power has opened a new vein of consciousness, the knowledge that large-scale human action may place the further existence of nature...

read more

1. Varieties of Environmentalism: A Genealogy

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 23-48

Kenneth Burke's chief contribution to rhetorical theory was the concept of identification as the means by which a speaker or writer puts forth an image or character-what the ancient rhetoricians called ethos-and invites the audience to participate in a consubstantial relationship with that image. The analytical...

read more

2. The Rhetoric of Scientific Activism

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.4 MB)
pp. 51-100

To enhance the attractiveness of the environmentalist ethos and the wilderness ethic, the Sierra Club and other political action groups have always sought to demonstrate a scientific basis for their perspective. Writers in the Sierra Club Bulletin frequently appeal to science. "Management of our land must...

read more

3. Scientific Ecology and the Rhetoric of Distance

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 103-131

It was once common to think of scientific discourse as somehow above rhetoric-the practice of the courtroom, the political arena, the pulpit and revival meeting-or at the very least, different from rhetoric. In recent years, however, the view has emerged that science definitely has a rhetoric but that...

read more

4. Transformations of Scientific Discourse in the News Media

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 133-160

News reporters and the purveyors of mass media have an ostensible commitment to a realist, even a positivist, epistemology. They are supposedly devoted to the facts. In principle, their brand of objectivity resembles that of applied science, a hardheaded insistence on maintaining their own perspective against...

read more

5. The Environmental Impact Statement and the Rhetoric of Democracy

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 163-191

The historian Samuel Hays argues that a division has evolved in American environmental politics between, on the one hand, experts who have institutionalized access to authoritative information and influence, and on the other hand, the general public, whose sources of information and whose power to influence...

read more

6. Rhetoric and Action in Ecotopian Discourse

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.1 MB)
pp. 193-236

During the 1970s, it began to be clear that, with the spread of environmental consciousness among the general public-perhaps indeed because of it-reform environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club came to seem less radical than they once had seemed. Part of the rhetorical strategy of James Watt and...

read more

7. Ecological Economics and the Rhetoric of Sustainability

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 239-266

In a recent column in Utne Reader, Walter Truett Anderson writes, "Practically everybody today is some kind of environmentalist. The original movement has diversified into a vast range of organizations, political positions, life-styles, cults, sects, strategies, faiths and fanaticism." Anderson goes on to identify...

read more

Epilogue: The Scientific Activist and the Problem of Openness

pdf iconDownload PDF (571.7 KB)
pp. 269-280

May 1990, as part of the twentieth anniversary of Earth Day, we attended a meeting on global warming sponsored by a local environmental action group in Memphis, Tennessee. A panel of three internationally known scientists addressed an audience of over two hundred interested citizens. The information...


pdf iconDownload PDF (529.6 KB)
pp. 283-292

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (553.0 KB)
pp. 293-304


pdf iconDownload PDF (337.9 KB)
pp. 305-312

Author Biographies

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.4 KB)
pp. 313

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.6 KB)

E-ISBN-13: 9780809380978
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809331451

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2012