Too Many American Icons: Conflicting Ideologies of Wild Horse Management in the American West
Sullivan, Curtis J.
More InformationShow full item record
Too Many American Icons: Conflicting Ideologies of Wild Horse Management in the American West (1.681Mb)
Wild free-roaming horses in the American West continue to exist in tension with the land they inhabit, the government that “manages” them, and the people that are impacted by them. The problem, argued here, is the result of the ideological construction of mustangs in American culture, and it calls forth questions about human-nature relationships as well as contemporary understandings of Environmentalism. This research follows in the theoretical foundations of Raymond Geuss and Tommie Shelby to unpack the epistemic properties (empirical evidence of the contexts from which ideologies are formed), functional properties (consequences of suffering and benefits as a result of ideologies), and genetic histories (historical contexts the construct the ideologies in a culture) of ideologies relating to wild horses in the West; by doing so it also provides insight into nature identification, the borders and barriers of human creations, and the limitations of access for performing environmentalism. This text focuses primarily on the life and experiences of Velma Bronn Johnston as an exemplar of environmental change in unexpected ways. Her narrative culminates in the passing of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 that created material changes for the lives of mustangs in the West as well as long-term consequences for citizens of the United States of America. Consequentially, mustangs of the West face a population “problem” that costs the United States more than $80 million annually with almost no signs of decreasing.