Alaska Chop: Rhetorics of Alaska Marine Governance

Authors: Katherine Ball*, Arizona State University
Topics: Marine and Coastal Resources, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: alaska, governance, rhetoric, feminist
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 30
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Subsistence rights for Alaska Natives were protected by two United States policies in the late 1900s. While these policies still govern ocean subsistence use, Alaska Native rights continue to be points of governance and development debates. Feminist research on subsistence discourse in Alaska has focused on community-level impacts. Organization level research on Alaska ocean-related discourse is less common. This work aims to highlight discourse of Alaska ocean imaginaries across difference by studying how organizations portray Alaska’s oceans on official websites. Rhetoric analysis and critical discourse analysis are used on websites as stable sites of rhetoric to construct imaginaries using environmental, social, and economic codes. Nine stakeholders were selected based on their engagement in Alaska ocean governance, ocean use debates, or representation of local voices. Ocean governance stakeholders include two Alaska programs run by federal ocean agencies and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Federal Subsistence Management Program. The natural resource extraction stakeholders are Hilcorp and ConocoPhillips Alaska who both operate in the Prudhoe Bay Oilfields and the Pebble Mine Project known for controversy around impacts on Bristol Bay. Alaska-based organizations are First Alaskans Institute, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and an indigenous ethnographic film company. Website analysis includes text analysis, how narratives are constructed, and visual analysis of imaginary invoked. Expanding the critical analysis of subsistence policy stakeholders beyond Alaska Natives explores the ways counter narratives to powerful discourse are presented to the broader public.

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