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Title: Climate champions and discourses of climate change : an analysis of the communication of climate change in large corporations
Author: Swaffield, Joanne Clare
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 3392
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis focuses on the communication of climate change in large corporations. Over the last 40 years, concern about climate change has increased and climateprotecting behaviour is now widely advocated by many actors, including businesses. This thesis adopts a discursive approach to climate change and aims to understand how a particular group of people, namely ‘climate champions’ in large corporations, talk and think about climate change in their daily lives. The theoretical part of the thesis begins from the assumption that neoliberalism is the dominant discourse at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It considers the relationship between neoliberalism and the natural world and examines how climate change has been discursively constructed in this neoliberal context. The main focus of the thesis is the different ways of actually dealing with climate change based on the distinction between climate change as a small ‘glitch’ in the neoliberal system and climate change as a fundamental problem. The main part of the theoretical framework identifies seven climate discourses that are rooted in this distinction. The discourses either conform to the principles of neoliberalism (reformist discourses) or reject neoliberal ideas (revolutionary discourses). Empirically, the project attempts to analyse the everyday communication of climate change by using these seven discourses. Specifically, it focuses on the role of designated ‘climate champions’ (individuals given responsibility for promoting climate protecting behaviour) in large corporations. The thesis uses interviews with 44 participants to identify which discourses the champions drew upon when they talked about climate change. It focuses on the dominance of particular discourses and how dominant ideas are reinforced or challenged on a daily basis. The thesis concludes that, although reformist discourses were indeed very influential, the champions drew upon many different discourses when they promoted climate protecting behaviour and discussed climate change. They both reinforced and resisted reformist discourses depending on the audience and the context in which they were talking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available