What West Virginia? Conflict over West Virginiaâ s State Identity A Constitutive Approach to Activism and Public Relations
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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.
- Masters Theses