Title page for ETD etd-01222008-100811

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Ells, Kevin James
Author's Email Address ells@lsu.edu
URN etd-01222008-100811
Title One Rhizome, Two Unstoppable Blossoms: Environmental Communication and Ecological Rhetoric
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrew A. King Committee Chair
James M. Honeycutt Committee Member
Loretta L. Pecchioni Committee Member
Stephanie Houston Grey Committee Member
Stacia L. Haynie Dean's Representative
  • environmental communication
  • ecological rhetoric
  • rhetorical criticism
  • media ecology
  • semiotics
  • network science
Date of Defense 2007-12-10
Availability unrestricted
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.
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