Date of Award
Bottled water industry -- Environmental aspects -- Columbia River Gorge (or. and Wash.), Natural resources -- Politcal aspects, Nestlé Company, Environmental policy
This research explores the sociopolitical development of resource rights policy and environmental resource flows in the network society. The specific interaction studied is centered on a disputed proposal by Nestlé Waters North America to the City of Cascade Locks, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, which would allow Nestlé to build a water bottling plant accessing the culturally and environmentally significant Oxbow Springs. The primary question guiding this research is: In the case of the developing policy concerning water rights in the County of Hood River, what are the identifiable power dynamics between civil society actors, private interests, and state institutions within the networks involved in the making of local environmental policy and the resultant resource flows? The interactional information was collected from a variety of publicly accessible sources including documents published by government agencies and media coverage from established news organizations, and then coded to an operationalized Network Theory of Power. Further informed by scholarship from both political and environmental sociology and globalization literature, I use a form of content analysis to argue that in interactions where the state and private networks were functioning under a cooperative set of goals, a private economic basis of power motivated the state network. Conversely, when state network goals or state network structures and protocols (organizational hierarchy, legislation, etc.) were aligned or accessible to civil society networks and activists, a public political basis of power motivated the state network. This research elucidates important implications for policy making in the era of internet-fueled globalization, public and privately managed environmental resource flows, and effective strategies of citizen-based resistance.
Shotola-Schiewe, Cody, "Power Dynamics and Environmental Resource Flows in the Network Society: Water Bottling and Policy Development in the Columbia Gorge" (2017). University Honors Theses. Paper 397.