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

Bannon, Michael John (2006) The Battle of Deer Creek Crossing: A Case Study of Rhetorical Exigence and Environmental Controversy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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THE BATTLE OF DEER CREEK CROSSING:A Case Study of Rhetorical Exigence and Environmental RhetoricMichael John Bannon, PhDUniversity 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 Pennsylvania's 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 Carson's 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.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bannon, Michael Johnmjbst57@pitt.eduMJBST57
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMitchell, Gordongordonm@pitt.eduGORDONM
Committee MemberOlson, Lesterolson@pitt.eduOLSON
Committee MemberFarber, Stephen
Committee MemberFusfield, Williamfusroy@pitt.eduFUSROY
Date: 6 October 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 23 May 2006
Approval Date: 6 October 2006
Submission Date: 14 August 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental controversy; environmental rhetoric; Rachel Carson; rhetorical history; rhetorical situation
Other ID:, etd-08142006-085634
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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