Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of Communication Studies
Sara Hayden, Martin Nie
NEPA, public participation, collaboration, Mouffe, rhetoric, reasonable hostility
University of Montana
There are two predominant models for thinking about proper communicative conduct on the part of citizens participating in federal environmental decision making. The consultative model is typically the basis for traditional forms of public participation. The consensus model has been developed as an alternative to the perceived failings of traditional forms of public participation, and underpin increasingly common collaborative approaches to public participation). In this paper, I will take a humanities based approach to advocating for the consideration of a third approach, that of ‘reasonable hostility.’ I argue that neither of the currently dominant models of participatory conduct successfully accounts for a role for the public hearing in a way that is compelling to most would-be participants. There is a need for a renewed view of public hearings that is both honest regarding the degree of opportunity for the public to directly influence federal environmental policy while also reconsidering the potential of public hearings in NEPA as a democratic communicative space. In the tradition of rhetorical scholarship I hope to enrich that view by highlighting the communicative moves necessary for the public hearing in NEPA to occupy a simultaneously ubiquitous but limited role as well as offering guidance for enhancing that role.
Stone, Kevin C., "Rhetoric, participation, and democracy: The positioning of public hearings under the National Environmental Policy Act" (2015). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 4576.
© Copyright 2015 Kevin C. Stone