Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This dissertation will contribute to the project of explaining what environmental communication studies may offer theoretically to an understanding of communication and rhetoric in general, investigate a complex problem in rhetoric from a variety of methodological approaches, offer examples of rhetorical criticism relevant to environmental communication researchers, and delve into certain salient aspects of ecological rhetoric (defined herein as rhetoric from an ecological perspective). The hypothesis of this doctoral thesis is twofold: 1) studying environmental communication can illuminate much about communication and rhetoric in general, and 2) ecological rhetoric has considerable persuasive potential in itself for reasons that can be demonstrated through criticism and ascertained through theoretical reflection. This dissertation is a critical and conceptual project that might also shed light on some practical questions about environmental advocacy. Case studies in historically significant instances of environmental communication from Garrett Hardin and Al Gore, as well as reflections upon the Interstate and the erosion of the Louisiana coastline, analyzed by means of rhetorical criticism, media ecology, semiotics, and quantitative methods, should highlight the narrative, material, and indexical quality of ecological rhetoric. Finally, a survey of concepts from network science will connect ecological rhetoric with recent debates in rhetorical theory.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Andrew A. King



Included in

Communication Commons