chapter  7
Rhetoric and culture
Pages 26

We have shown how a rhetorical approach can be used to explore the many varieties of environmental arguments and the ways in which they interrelate. Through an emphasis on the active process of arguing, we have furthered the understanding of the dynamics of cultural exchange and the place that discussion of environmental issues holds in the broader culture. Therefore, through providing a rhetorical account of the environet, we have also provided a cultural theory, an account of the contemporary culture through current concerns with the environment. Speaking from within the social sciences, Mike Featherstone (1992: vii) claims that such a concern with culture is a radical enterprise:

The last decade has seen a marked increase in interest in culture in the social sciences. For many social scientists, culture has been seen as something on the periphery of the field as, for example, we find in conceptualizations that wish to restrict it to the study of the arts. . . Culture was too often regarded as readily circum­ scribed, something derivative which was there to be explained. It was rarely conceived of as opening up a set of problems which, once tackled, could question and overturn such hierarchically constituted oppositions and separations. A set of problems which, when constituted in its most radical form, could challenge the viability of our existing modes of conceptualization.