rhetoric, rhetorical analysis, environmental rhetoric, Kenneth Burke
The work of Kenneth Burke provides a method of rhetorical analysis that is useful in terms of bringing features of texts to the surface that are not readily apparent, such as how they produce identification in their audiences, and in revealing rhetorical factors related to but outside the text, for example the authors' motives. Burke's work is wide-ranging and open to many interpretations, so it can be difficult to apply. This study condenses some of his more important concepts into a simplified method which has several practical applications; it focuses on how Burke's theories can be applied to analyzing environmental texts, and helps reveal how those texts are rhetorically effective. This method is also shown to be useful for rhetoricians and other students of language in analyzing the motives and meanings behind complicated texts. An example analysis is developed in detail to demonstrate the utility of this approach for analyzing environmental rhetoric and help clarify how to apply it to other texts. A publication by the Center for Ecoliteracy (CEL), a nonprofit organization engaged in environmental education, provides the basis for a concrete example of applying this method to a current work of environmental rhetoric. The CEL serves as an example of current environmental organizations and their rhetoric, and a Burkean analysis of its publications begins by revealing some of the principles operating in the texts that make them rhetorically effective. This analysis also goes beyond basic dialectics to question how the texts function as "symbolic action" and how they fit into Burke's hierarchic system of language. The method developed in this study not only determines how the text produces identification in an audience, but also the motives behind producing the text. The CEL's publications are good representative examples of current environmental writing, so the conclusions drawn from an analysis of the CEL's texts can be applied to other environmental rhetoric.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Stewart, John, "A Burkean Method For Analyzing Environmental Rhetoric" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4078.