Episode 26: The language of Corporate Social Responsibility: Ecolinguistics


In the introduction, we mention the Yale Programme for Climate. Its most recent survey of  on public attitudes to climate change dates from 2022 and includes the following two maps:

Here, dark red indicates a higher percentage of the population worrying about climate change.

Dark blue indicates a low percentage of the population thinking that climate change will have a direct impact on them. 

The article on metaphors in climate change discourse is

  • Atanasova, D., & Koteyko, N. (2017). Metaphors in Guardian Online and Mail Online opinion-page content on climate change: War, religion, and politics. Environmental Communication, 11(4), 452-469.

This article gives a good overview of war metaphors more generally: 

  • Flusberg, S. J., Matlock, T., & Thibodeau, P. H. (2018). War metaphors in public discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 33(1), 1-18.

We also talk about a chapter in the following book: 

  • Goatly, A. (2007). Washing the Brain: Metaphor and hidden ideology. Benjamins.

The cue for our discussion about presuppositions in proverbs about pigs is taken from this article by our interview guest: 

  • Stibbe, A. (2003). As charming as a pig: The discursive construction of the relationship between pigs and humans. Society & Animals, 11(4), 375-392.

Here are the collocations he found:

The origin of the German phrase ‘Schwein gehabt’ meaning having been lucky is not entirely clear, but may go back to a mediaeval custom to give a pig as a consolation prize to someone who had lost in a competition. 

The idea that pigs are filthy is also expressed in the film Pulp Fiction (1994), where animals consumed by humans are compared to pets. The different ways in which humans relate to animals are put into stark contrast in this row of shops in a small English town:

Our discussion of presuppositions draws on 

  • Polyzou, A. (2015). Presupposition in discourse: Theoretical and methodological issues. Critical Discourse Studies, 12(2), 123-138.

Our interview guest, Arran Stibbe, is the founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association and runs a free online course called The Stories We Live By. During the interview, Veronika mentions Buy Nothing Day in Britain, which is on the last Friday in November (but feel free to buy nothing on any day of the year!). 

The seminal work in ecofeminism was

  • Daly, M. (1978). Gyn/Ecology: The metaethics of radical feminism. Beacon Press. 

while a recent article focuses on the language angle is 

  • Appleby, R., & Pennycook, A. (2017). Swimming with sharks, ecological feminism and posthuman language politics. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 14(2-3), 239-261.

In the analysis part of the episode, we report on the work on CSR reporting by a number of researchers from China. We mention some recent work that a previous interview guest, Matteo Fuoli, has done with Annika Beelitz, on the discourse of energy companies.  

  • Fuoli, M. and Beelitz, A. (2022). Framing the path to net zero: A corpus analysis of carbon disclosures by the world’s largest corporate emitters, 2011-2020. Paper presented at the 6th Corpora and Discourse international conference. 26-28 August, Bertinoro/Italy. 

Here is a two-page spread from the text we analyse, the 2021 CSR report by China Southern Airlines 2021:

The complete report is available both in Chinese and in English

Finally, we’d like to mention that Erika, Veronika and Bernard are working on the second edition of the Language in Business, Language at Work textbook (Bloomsbury, 2018), which will feature a new chapter on CSR. 

See you again for the third and final part of this mini-series!

Listen to the episode here

Full transcription of the episode


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