Maximal Proposition, Environmental Melodrama, and the Rhetoric of Local Movements: A Study of The Anti-Fracking Movement in Denton, Texas
Description: The environmental problems associated with the boom in hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," such as anthropogenic earthquakes and groundwater contamination, have motivated some citizens living in affected areas such as Denton, Texas to form movements with the goal of imposing greater regulation on the industry. As responses to an environmental threat that is localized and yet mobile, these anti-fracking movements must construct rhetorical appeals with complicated relationships to place. In this thesis, I examine the anti-fracking movement in Denton, Texas in a series of three rhetorical analyses. In the first, I compared fracking bans used by Frack Free Denton and State College, Pennsylvania to distinguish the argumentative claims that are dependent on the politics of place, and affect strategies localities must use in resisting natural gas extraction. In the second, I compare campaign strategies that use local identity as a way of invoking legitimacy, which reinforces narrative frameworks of environmental risk. In the third, I conduct and analyze interviews with anti-fracking leaders who described the narrative of their movement, which highlighted tensions in the rhetorical construction of a movement as local. Altogether, this thesis traces the rhetorical conception of place across the rhetoric of the anti-fracking movement in Denton, Texas, while seeking to demonstrate the value of combining rhetorical criticism with rhetorical field methods.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Hensley, Colton Dwayne