Writing "Bhopal": Rhetorical perspectives on India, environmentalism and the politics of disaster
Marcus, George E.
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation explores the ways contemporary environmental politics in India combine older Leftist agendas with important new critiques of the role of science and technology in societal development. The primary case study is Bhopal, where micro-level issues of health care, vocational rehabilitation and housing are addressed alongside macro-level issues of international law, technology transfer and trade liberalization. The Bhopal material is situated within broader patterns of opposition through comparison with the resistance strategies of other victimized areas. Theoretically, this dissertation is an analysis of the rhetorical strategies used by Indian environmental activists in their attempts to respond to and shape contemporary politics. Each section is both an example of a specific rhetorical strategy and an analysis of the kind of information which can be carried through the specified writing form. Threaded throughout the dissertation is an accounting of how questions about writing occur not only when confronted with the task of scholarly representation but also throughout the work of political activism, particularly when it is working within an emerging discourse such as that of environmentalism. Also emphasized is the connection between rhetorics, the contexts in which they are produced and their effects on social change.