Department or Program


Second Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The 2012 election cycle in the United States was not only saturated with talk of the abortion issue but marked by extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and the costliest drought in United States’ history. This investigation attempts to understand how the discourse concerning life, both human and ecological, is negotiated in the political sphere. In consulting the theory of metaphor by Kenneth Burke, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, a cluster analysis is employed to identify the metaphors that emerge around the word “life.” These metaphors will then be compared to further understand how the protection of life is negotiated rhetorically. This analysis is limited to two spheres. Concerning abortion rhetoric, the organization The Susan B. Anthony List is used to identify and collect texts from politicians who actively speak out against abortion. Contrastingly, the ongoing case of saving the symbolic Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park is used to identify conservation discourse. Ultimately, a comparative cluster analysis of the word “life” is conducted to distinguish how each respective faction, the abortion movement and the conservation movement, uses the term “life” in order to draw conclusions for why one movement is more successful than the other.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Hovden, Jan

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



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