The erasure of nature in the discourse of oil production
An enhanced eco-discourse analysis, Part 1
This two-part article suggests ways in which elements of antagonistic discourses of the environment might be combined in a hybrid, innovative discourse that appeals to a broad section of the public while advocating for more environmentally sustainable practices in industry. It proposes an enhanced Positive Discourse Analysis (PDA) that not only identifies points of fissure in the hegemonic discourse but also seeks points of convergence that can be articulated with in a hybrid, counter-hegemonic discourse that maximizes its potential for uptake while destabilizing the prevailing discourses at precisely the fissure points identified. Part I explores the theoretical grounding for an enhanced PDA, introduces the research method and then, based on Stibbe (2016), makes an eco-discourse analysis of discourses by Shell Oil Company (SOC), with a focus on their discourse semantic patterns, showcasing how hegemonic groups employ discourse strategies to serve their interests and what ecological effects such discourses may produce. In Part II (Chen et al. 2021), a comparative analysis is conducted on the SOC discourses and the Greenpeace discourses. As well as highlighting the points of antagonism between the two discourses, it attempts to seek out points of convergence between progressive positions in the discourses. Part II also explores the potential fissures in the hegemonic order and discusses the design of alternative discourses thereupon. It is argued that an enhanced PDA which focuses on solutions rather than problems and collaboration rather than resistance forms a route for positive and interventionist orientations to discourse that promote social change.
Keywords: ecological discourse analysis (EDA), Positive Discourse analysis (PDA), fissure, uptake, discourse semantics, collaborative discourse, Shell Oil Company
Published online: 02 March 2021
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