Title page for ETD etd-05112011-130453

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Fay, Isabel
Author's Email Address fayi08@vt.edu
URN etd-05112011-130453
Title What West Virginia? Conflict over West Virginia’s State Identity A Constitutive Approach to Activism and Public Relations
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kuypers, James A. Committee Chair
  • dialogue
  • environmentalism
  • public relations
  • coal industry
  • activism
  • state identity
  • constitutive rhetoric
Date of Defense 2011-04-27
Availability restricted
This rhetorical analysis of a coal advocacy and a coal-critical environmentalist organization examines how each group constitutes different West Virginian identities that accord with their organizational mission. Based on the constitutive concepts advanced by Edwin Black, Maurice Charland, and Michael McGee, this study has analyzed the ideological narratives, which underlie each argument, and which call into existence two antagonistic West Virginian identities. Whereas the coal industry conceives of a dutiful West Virginian people, who take pride in providing energy to the nation and fueling its economy, the environmentalists interpellate a primitive people who live at the mercy of their environment. In a father-child relationship, the groups take oppositional roles in a mutually constructed drama. Hence, this constitutive analysis of two public opponents strongly suggests that public activist groups derive their identities from conflict and are thus disinterested in resolving their disagreement.
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