Drilling for fissures and exploiting common ground in the discourse of oil production
An enhanced eco-discourse analysis, Part 2
This is the second part of a two-part article which proposes an enhanced approach to eco-discourses after weighing the (dis)advantages of mainstream Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Positive Discourse Analysis (PDA). Part I (Chen et al. 2021) explored the theoretical grounding for an enhanced PDA, introduced the research method and then, based on the adapted analytic framework of Stibbe (2016), undertook a critical analysis of the discourses of Shell Oil Company (SOC). Part II uses the same analytic framework to analyse Greenpeace USA’s (GPU) discourse and compare it to the SOC discourse. The emphasis in Part II is on the exploration of potential fissures in the discourses across difference, and the possible common grounds upon which to design alternative discourses that are empathetic, comprehensible and legitimate to a coalition of social forces. Practically, Part II finds that the two groups use similar discourse strategies, such as salience and framing, but with different orientations. Methodologically, Part II argues that corpus-aided comparative discourse analysis, with a focus on discourse semantics, will facilitate the identification of ‘greenwashing’ strategies that strengthen and stabilize current hegemonic social order. This part also points to avenues of alternative discourses which exploit the inherent contradictions or fissures within that hegemonic order. Theoretically, the paper suggests that within an enhanced Positive Discourse Analysis approach, it is also important to seek out points of convergence between progressive positions and to articulate these within a hybrid, counter-hegemonic discourse that maximizes its potential for uptake, while it destabilizes the prevailing discourses at precisely the fissure points identified.
Keywords: enhanced positive discourse analysis, eco-discourse, fissure, uptake, discourse semantics, collaborative discourse
Published online: 03 June 2021
Chen, Wenge, Tom Bartlett and Huiling Peng
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