A neo-Gramscian communication analysis of structure and agency in the hegemonic struggle for meaning: organic retailer and organic activist group
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation extends environmental communication theorizing by drawing upon socio-political cultural and critical theory. The exigency of this project arose out of the paradox between the ethos of the adherents of the environmental movement and the characteristics of the newly mainstreamed version of the movement, of which large corporations producing and retailing green consumer products are newly a part. The project focused more specifically on the communication by and about the largest U.S. green product retailer and a public interest consumer group who watchdogs the retailer. Gramsci's philosophy of praxis and his notion of hegemony were used to interrogate both structure and agency in the ideological struggle over what it means to be a company tied to the counter-hegemonic ethics of consumer health, the environment, and the notion of sustainability that has grown to encompass not just the sustainability of the earth's natural non-human resources, but also social justice for human and non-human animals. This project contributes to environmental communication theory by interrogating the intersection of structure and agency in the communication between and about two parties in a hegemonic struggle over meaning in an historical moment whereby an environmental ethos has been co-opted and commodified in a socio-political-cultural environment that is increasing dominated by electronic media mass communication.
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