Reframing Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay: Environmental NGOs and the Politics of Knowledge Reproduction

Authors: Sya Kedzior*, Towson University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: environmental knowledge, frame analysis, NGOs, Chesapeake Bay
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As the Chesapeake Bay Agreement prepares to celebrate its 35-year anniversary and some indicators begin to show improvements in Bay water quality, many regional environmental NGOs (eNGOs) are shifting strategies for public engagement and outreach. This paper presents the results of a study that examined the efforts of more than a dozen Chesapeake Bay area eNGOs and investigates how they differently frame, or present to the public, the issue of water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Particular attention is paid to the recent efforts by many organizations to “shift frames” relative to the roles played by local farmers and agricultural interests and to organizational prioritization of public environmental education programs. Findings draw upon data collected through archival research, participant observation at eNGO events, and interviews with eNGO program representatives. Discussion examines how geographic approaches to environmental social movement studies, particularly those that emphasize various actors’ efforts to reproduce environmental knowledge, can be informed by sociological approaches to frame analysis.

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