Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2000

Degree Name

Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication - (M.S.)


Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Robert S. Friedman

Second Advisor

Nancy Steffen-Fluhr

Third Advisor

Norbert Elliot


Politicians involved in the water and wastewater industry invoke core American values in their rhetoric to persuade their audience to support or decry privatization. By weaving these values into their rhetoric, politicians provide moral and social justification for their audiences to support them, whether in election or privatization.

This thesis places these rhetoricians in their historical context It analyzes the legacy of environmentalism, from the 17th and l8th century religious preachers to the 19th and 20th century Greenspeak writers to the 21st century leaders of America's largest cities. It provides a detailed discussion of the American value system as defined by 1960s rhetorical analysts, grouping these values into common iconic clusters. These clusters are then closely evaluated, first on their theoretical basis in environmental literature, and then in their practical application in the privatization arena. Finally, it reaches conclusions about the American value system in privatization and proposes directions for future research.



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