Award Date

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental and Public Affairs

First Committee Member

Gene Hall

Second Committee Member

Anna Lukemeyer

Third Committee Member

Andrew Kirk

Fourth Committee Member

Karen Daneilsen

Number of Pages



Despite being rich in resources, a growing population and open spaces, the Old West has often erupted into the “Angry West” (Lamm, R. D., & McCarthy, M. 1982), as individuals, interest groups and political leaders throughout the West have demanded the turnover of select lands within the region for local control, development and/or private sale. One of the most well-known and heated public lands debates took place during the late 1970s and was called the Sagebrush Rebellion. Rebellion leaders gained national attention as they emphasized the need for autonomy, resource development and equality with Eastern states through the turnover of public lands.

Utilizing qualitative analysis and the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF), this research is an analysis of 588 formal and informal communications from Sagebrush Rebels and members of the opposition party, characterized as Environmentalists. Methodology consisted of using a grounded theoretical approach to uncover emergent themes and the Narrative Policy Framework for specific narrative elements and strategies. Emerging themes included the appearance of the devil/angel shift, a high use of economic data for justifications for both parties, the use of blame and the identification of policy winners and losers.


narrative policy framework; policy losers; policy winners; public lands; sagebrush rebellion


History | Public Policy

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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