The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.
Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Bach, Andrew J.
Neff, Mark W.
Rossiter, David A.
This thesis addresses the sociocultural dimensions of the ongoing debate over the management of the Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California. I used a social constructionist approach to qualitatively analyze discourse from 165 comments submitted to the Department of Interior in 2011 regarding the proposed removal of four dams on the Klamath River to develop typologies based on ideas of nature and preferred management outcomes. Analysis was informed by literature spanning environmental history, political ecology, historical geography, anthropology, science and technology studies, and sociology. My analysis indicates that commenters drew on diverse and divergent ideas of nature, used competing problem framings, claimed science supported their preferred management outcome, and drew on larger cultural narratives. These ideas and narratives are both culturally embedded and meaningful. In defining nature and what it is good for, commenters invoked ideas of the democratic individual, virtuous pristine nature, deserving yeoman farmer, precisely managed resources, and sacred family heritage. These narratives help to shape the terrain upon which management actions are perceived, valued, and contested, and make management actions symbolic and meaningful beyond their immediate spatial and temporal context. Ultimately, the conflict in the Klamath Basin can be understood as a contest for social power to enact a particular vision for the landscape. I also argue that an appeal to scientific knowledge alone is inadequate to address complex socioecological controversies where factual and normative claims are entangled and management actions are understood not as true or false, but right or wrong.
Western Washington University
Klamath River (Or. and Calif.)
Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Albertson, Zander, "Constructing the Klamath: Nature, Culture, and the Management of a Western River" (2017). WWU Masters Thesis Collection. 560.