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Discourse and Sustainability


The Seminar Series "Discourse and Sustainability" is an international forum for presenting and discussing new, cutting edge, research on discourse and issues of sustainability, environment, climate change and ecology.

Please register here for the next webinar in our series: https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/956d036a-0da4-420c-8cd4-975f0a51316a@490a8197-7b83-4f10-89b9-83189be3835e

But dont forget to join this group by login in and pressing "join group" so you get future updates too!

Our next seminar takes place on 15th March 2024, 12 noon UK TIME, Kelsey Campolong (Ulster University): Neoliberalism in the Glasgow Climate Pact: Interdiscursivity and Faux-Sustainability at COP26


With a stated purpose of “uniting the world to tackle climate change,” the 2021 UN COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, resulted in the Glasgow Climate Pact, the largest international agreement on the topic of climate change since the 2015 Paris Agreement. By the conference’s own admission, “many believed [COP26] to be the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control” (ukcop26.org). However, despite the lofty policy goals of the UN’s various climate-related bodies—including the UNFCCC and the widely-lauded IPCC—these entities routinely adopt, normalize, and habituate the fundamentally incompatible (cf. Ritchie et al. 2020; Wiedmann et al. 2020) discourses of capitalism and development economics into their own discourse surrounding climate activism.

                 Using a critical discourse analytic framework largely influenced by CPDA (Montesano Montessori, Farrelly, & Mulderrig 2019), I conceptualize COP26 as a discursive, semiotic space encompassing a wide variety of texts (e.g. the Glasgow Climate Pact, the conference website, and various activities, speeches, and (in)tangible aspects of the conference itself). Despite embracing conspicuous features of sustainability discourse, these texts nevertheless betray a robust interdiscursivity with the climate-denying discourses of capitalism and fossil fuel interests, that, I argue, render the former ineffectual. Close discursive analysis reveals the simultaneous presence of these contradictory discourses along with a network of presupposition, metaphor, framing, and epistemic stance—among other linguistic features—inextricably linking them together. In particular, I show how the uncritical acceptance of mandatory growth ideology, a cornerstone of Western neoliberalism, permeates the GCP and other UN policy statements, undermining and delegitimizing any presumably well-intentioned sustainability goals of the conference and effecting complicity (Verschueren 2021) with reactionary discourses.


Programme Summer Term 2024

9th February 2024, 11 am UK time (note the different time): Rescheduled talk, Ben Clarke (University of Gothenburg) Wanting for a better climate of discussion on the environment: Patterns of impoliteness, transitivity and Engagement in online newsreader comments that receive uncivil replies - catch up here: https://youtu.be/4oAxX0OCdco

16th February 2024, 12 noon UK TIME, Jonathan Joseph (University of Bristol): Resilience, sustainability and the crisis of the Liberal International Order - catch up here: https://youtu.be/0NQniwwGZR4

15th March 2024, 12 noon UK TIME, Kelsey Campolong (Ulster University): Neoliberalism in the Glasgow Climate Pact: Interdiscursivity and Faux-Sustainability at COP26

19th April 2024, 12 noon UK TIME, Robert Poole (University of Alabama): Investigating ecological change and climate crisis through diachronic corpus-assisted ecolinguistics

17th May 2024, 12 noon UK TIME, Nicolina Montesano Montessori (HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht): TBC

7th June 2024, 12 noon UK TIME, Bernhard Forchtner (University of Leicester): TBC



The programme Winter Term 2023-2024:

20 October 2023, 12noon-1pm (note the different time) John Dryzek (University of Canberra) 'The Rise (and Fall?) of Grey Radicalism'

17 November 2023, 1-2pm, Tom Bartlett (University of Glasgow),  Just Transitions to sustainable practice - Is there a role for discourse analysts?

15 December 2023, 1-2pm, Anabella Carvalho (University of Minho), Political imaginaries and climate change

****POSTPONED**** Ben Clarke, (Göteborgs universitet), TBC