Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Humanature Relations in Oman: Connections, Disconnections, and Globalization
by Alhinai, Maryam A., Ph.D., The University of New Mexico, 2017, 244; 10269522
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I explore agricultural practices as a window into ecocultural communication. Using agricultural practices of villagers in Village G, Oman, as a case study, I explore the ways in which villagers and government officials conceptualize humanature relations and the forces that enhance and/or impede these relations. My specific goals for this study were: (1) to build an interpretive understanding of ecocultural orientations of villagers and officials in Oman and how they conceptualize their humanature relations; (2) to critically examine ideologies and uncover structural forces that enable/constrain humanature relations; and (3) to co-create community engagement work that honors the ecocultural wisdom of farmers, promotes economic viability, and enhances ecocultural sustainability. Accordingly, I ask a set of three questions: RQ 1: What grassroots core ecocultural premises do Omani villagers communicate?, RQ 2: What core ecocultural premises do official government documents and officials discourse communicate in Oman?, and RQ 3: How does analysis of core components of critical community engagement inform researcher-villager-governmental collaborations to design sustainable practices? To answer these questions, I collected data through focus groups, individual interviews, participant observation and official government documents. Using Cultural Discourse Analysis (Carbaugh, 2007) and Community Engagement Framework (Collier, 2014) I identify three ecocultural premises in grassroots discourse: (1) Relations-in-place , (2) kinship-in-place and (3) nurturance-in-place , and four ecocultural premises in governmental discourse: (1) Modern agriculture is more effective than traditional agriculture, (2) Imported food and modern technology feed a growing population, (3) Technologized farming attracts youth, (4) Modern agriculture and profit-motivated practices achieve sustainability but traditional farming is not sustainable. I offer a date palm metaphor as an organizing principle that depicts humanature relations and the contextual factors that enhance and/or hinder these relations. Because date palms have shown resilience over harsh ecological conditions when water was scarce in Oman and heat was high, in this project, I use the date palm as a metaphor that exhibits an alternative discourse to globalized neoliberal ideological discourses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Milstein, Tema
Commitee: Carr, Johan, Collier, Mary Jane, Rodriguez, Ilia
School: The University of New Mexico
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- New Mexico
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Middle Eastern Studies
Keywords: Culture, Environmental communication, Globalization, Nature, Oman, Sustainability
Publication Number: 10269522
ISBN: 9780355150025
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