Date of Award

Spring 2023

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Cliff Brown

Second Advisor

Lawrence Hamilton

Third Advisor

Thomas Safford


This study addresses the relationship between environmental knowledge and place-based and occupational identities. I conducted fifty-five in-depth interviews with people involved in forest management in northern California. Participants belonged to one of three groups: logger- industrial, governmental-institutional, or organizational. In addition, I completed twenty-seven hours of observational fieldwork at logging sites in the region. From these transcripts, several themes emerge. Participants adopt a variety of ways of knowing and conceptions of care, and these correspond to different forest priorities, as well as attitudes toward global environmental issues. These groups also each construct distinct occupational identities, which sometimes form in response to stigma; these influence the ways they think about the forest and each other. However, their ability to enact these identities is also impacted by several structural constraints. Next, place-based identity forms in response to both place attachments and disruptions, and it is used in establishing claims to local knowledge and decision-making. Competing definitions of place emerge in disputes about community change and forest management. Nostalgic memories about work, community, and the forest highlight some of these different priorities in the context of rapid environmental and cultural changes. Finally, historical conflicts like the timber wars play an important role in the shaping of contemporary environmental debates. Together, these findings suggest that environmental knowledge is neither a singular nor objective object, but rather is influenced by other important dimensions of identity.