Communicating Sustainability Seminar Series is an international forum for presenting and discussing new, cutting edge, research on discourse and issues of sustainability, environment, climate change and ecology.
Spring 2023 programme:
24th March 2023 2-3 pm UK Time, https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/0d63b16e-bca4-417d-94af-09e525691280@490a8197-7b83-4f10-89b9-83189be3835e
Dr. Esterina Nervino, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong
Dr. Ge Lan, Assistant Professor, Department of English, City University of Hong Kong
Framing sustainability as a business opportunity: a corpus-driven approach to sustainable finance discourse
As the concept of sustainable finance pervades the practice of financial institutions worldwide, financial discourse also shifts towards framing banks as the key driver for the sustainability transformation. The aim of the study to determine the discursive strategies and phraseologies used by banks to frame their sustainability leadership and sustainable finance products and services as business opportunities; understand how dialogic relationship between banks and clients is built; and identify sustainability priorities for banks across markets. Drawing upon previous research on sustainability within consumer goods market and financial discourse, this study adopts a corpus-driven approach to analyse a corpus of 9 million words compiled with sustainability-related texts publicly available on four selected banks’ websites. Preliminary findings shed light on emerging genres as a result of sustainability transformation, prominent semantic fields across different markets and frequency lists as a reflection of the banks’ offer in terms of sustainability products and services, also supported by other multimodal affordances. The concordances generated focus on how discursive constructs are used to represent the values guiding both the bank’s actions and business opportunities. The use of pronouns such as the inclusive ‘we’, referring to the bank working towards creating ‘shared values’ and while establishing the leadership in the field also frames the banks’ actions as beneficial to the community.
Prof Mia Perry, Professor of Arts and Literacies in Education, School of Education, University of Glasgow
Pluriversal Literacies for becoming, learning, and living in an era of social and ecological vulnerability
Everything in the world is communicative; all things draw upon signs. From gestures to root patterns, from senses to temperatures, from sound to pattern formations – people and ecosystems function amongst, and depend upon, many complex sign systems or iconic and indexical referencing. These systems therefore require literacies for humans to interact with them. In fact, Charles Pierce’s proposition that the sign is “the primary or central characteristic of life, whether human or organic” (Hoffmeyer 2015, p. 244) has been taken up to propel many disciplines of knowledges over the past 100 years.
As humans, we communicate through the literacies we have. Literacies interpret the sign-systems (including language) that we all use to understand, make meaning, and engage. A universal literacy assumes a singular ontology across the globe. The pluriversal is a decolonial alternative to Western notions of “universal”, calling for the acknowledgment of different ways of being and knowing, and prompting the repair and recovery of the systems and relations to honour and support that.
Imagine island communities “reading” the signs of their coastline, and agrarian communities understanding the signs of their soils and leaves, if we could make meaning from the few trees in our landscape. All relationships and therefore actions would be affected. But the only literacy that counts in education today is print: reading and writing words. So, all other literacies are disappearing. The success of formal education globally, relates to the domination of the human centric abstraction of print literacy. Print literacy has been woven into the global economy and overshadows all other ways of meaning making and being with the world. Through geopolitical and economic influence, non-print forms of literacy have become marginalized, if not subjugated, ways of knowing, maintaining artificial hierarchies of knowledge and action that benefit those already in power. To mitigate this unjust and unsustainable dominance at this pivotal time – when humans need more than ever to find reciprocal relations with the natural world for our survival – I present a framework and emerging practice of pluriversal literacies.
A third session will be confirmed soon.