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Title:Land Health as Culture and Law: A Challenge to the Contemporary Discourse on Private Property
Author(s):Velez, Melba
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Denzin, Norman K.
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Environmental Philosophy
Abstract:There are three parts to social theory: (1) what is ideal, (2) what gets in the way, and (3) how to get there. In the communication ethics literature, human flourishing is often cited as the ultimate goal. However, far too little is mentioned about how this flourishing is contingent upon our collective and individual interactions with the lands we inhabit, cultivate, and own. Today, there is a tension between contemporary American legal and cultural discourses of property and the way land functions ecologically in the real world of nature. In popular and legal culture a land parcel is an owner's separate enclave; in nature a land parcel is fully intertwined with all that surrounds it. This tension stultifies both human flourishing and a successful conservation agenda. As a piece of cultural criticism, this study explores the roots of our current legal and cultural understanding of property by drawing from the insights of key contemporary writers on property, conservation, and communication ethics as well as from three recent, and typical, case studies of private land-use disputes involving environmental harm. The conclusions of this study offer a wide-ranging critique of property rhetoric as it appears in journalist reporting, popular rhetoric, and in the policy stances of conservation organizations. The chief complaint is that too much rhetoric is shallow and incomplete with key issues being missed and key choices never identified. To meet these challenges, a moral imagination that draws from virtue-based, deontological, and environmental approaches to communication is required. A vision of ecologically responsible ownership like Aldo Leopold's land ethic.
Issue Date:2009
Description:223 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3395525
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2009

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