The range of rhetoric: The rhetoric and politics of grazing in southern Arizona
AuthorStevens, Sharon M.
KeywordsLanguage, Rhetoric and Composition.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPublic debate about how, and whether, to graze southern Arizona's desert grasslands has been ongoing for decades. Increases in ecological knowledge and the creation of public discussion forums have failed to build consensus about grazing and related land policies. One major line of public argument takes the form of identity politics, with valued cultural and social movement identities, such as rancher or environmentalist, pitted against each other. Another site for contention is contrasting ecological claims about the effects of cattle on grass cover. In this ethnography-based dissertation, I analyze: (1) the rhetorical construction and representation of identities, and (2) the forms of evidence that provide epistemic support for scientific claims about ecology. Both reified identities and decontextualized scientific argument hinder consensus-building. A more open discussion of conflicting desires and explicit acknowledgment of human agency to affect both cultures and landscapes can shift public debate to more productive grounds for collaboration.
Degree ProgramGraduate College