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Spring Colloquium 6/5/17

Motivational Frame Disputes and Discursive Narratives Surrounding Hydraulic Fracking in the Haynesville Shale

Anthony E. Ladd
Professor of Sociology/The Environment Program
Loyola University New Orleans

June 5, 2015
12-1 PM
714 PLC

Environmental sociologists and social movement scholars have long utilized frame analysis concepts and similar analytic tools to examine how competing groups socially construct discursive interpretations of the environmental hazards, issues, and conflicts in their community (e.g. Brulle and Benford 2012; Capek 1993; Grey 2003, Krogman 1996; Ladd 2011; Shriver and Peaden 2009; Vincent and Shriver 2009). Typically, environmental frame disputes entail contrasting diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational narratives regarding what citizens view as the problems at hand, what solutions they propose to address such problems, and how these beliefs provide a motivation or rationale for adherents to take action on the issues driving the controversy (Benford 1993; Benford and Snow 2000). While the diagnostic and prognostic components of the larger frame dispute over natural gas fracking have been recently analyzed (see Ladd 2014), the motivational frames and discursive narratives that provide opposing rationales for the conflict have not received similar attention. In this presentation, based on a chapter from my forthcoming edited book (Fractured Communities: Risk, Impacts, and Protest Against Hydraulic Fracking in U.S. Shale Regions), I draw on sociological literature, archival sources, discursive documents, participant observation, and in-depth interview data from stakeholder groups in the region to provide a qualitative analysis of the motivational frame disputes surrounding natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing in the Haynesville Shale region of Louisiana. I conclude with some observations about their implications for future mobilization efforts surrounding oil and gas fracking.

Anthony E. Ladd is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and The Environment Program and a former chair of the Department of Sociology and the Environmental Studies Program at Loyola University New Orleans. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from the University of Tennessee and his B.S. in sociology from Ball State University. He has taught at the University of North Georgia, the University of Tennessee, and Carson-Newman College, and has served as a Visiting Professor at Duke University, Oregon State University, and Mississippi State University. He has also given invited research lectures on such campuses as the University of Oregon, Oklahoma State University, Villanova University, the University of South Florida, the University of Indianapolis, West Virginia Tech, and is a former president of the Association for Humanist Sociology (AHS). Dr. Ladd’s major area of research centers on the impacts of energy-driven environmental controversies and technological disasters on communities. He is the author of the forthcoming edited volume, Fractured Communities: Risk, Impacts, and Protest Against Hydraulic Fracking in U.S. Shale Regions (2017, Rutgers University Press) and has published over 50 articles, chapters, and reviews in such venues as Sociological Inquiry, Social Currents, Sociological Spectrum, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Rural Social Sciences, Humanity and Society, Journal of Public Management and Social Policy, and Social Justice. His most recent published research analyzes the environmental frame disputes and differential impacts of natural gas fracking in the Haynesville and Tuscaloosa Shale regions of Louisiana, as well as the growing socio-environmental threats posed by our continued reliance on fossil fuels and unconventional energy development. He is currently serving on the advisory board for an NSF grant on wastewater induced seismicity in Colorado and Oklahoma, is a Co-PI on a study examining the social impacts of extreme energy production in the United Kingdom (UK), and is researching the growth of “Frackademia” and the influx of corporate oil and gas funding into higher education.