Click on the respective tabs below for the presenters’ abstracts which will be given out on the specified days of the conference. For more detail on the time and date of these talks, refer to the Programme.
To access the Book of Abstracts as a downloadable and visible .pdf file, please click on this link: PDF Book of Abstracts
Monday 12th April 2021
Panel Presentation 1
Chaired by Jessica Hampton
The Game Changers: Narratives of the Vegan Hero
This paper presentation takes a critical look at the documentary film The Game Changers—a high-profile mainstream documentary about veganism—by exploring its narrative structure (Todorov 1977; Leeming 1998; Bal 2017) and evaluating its narrative entailments according to my vegan ecosophy (Stibbe 2021). The research is theoretically grounded in ecolinguistics (Stibbe 2021) and aims to distinguish the stories of veganism as identified through an interdependent collection of narratives, expert opinion and nutritional misconceptions. The documentary debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was later released on several online streaming services, becoming “the best-selling documentary of all time on iTunes’s—within just a week” (Chiorando 2019). Since then, it continues to educate and inspire, and for this reason was considered a potential source of beneficial stories of veganism to be promoted in the interest of tackling real-world ecological issues related to animal agriculture. The Humane Society International (2014) has concluded that “the farm animal production sector is the single largest anthropogenic user of land, contributing to soil degradation, dwindling water supplies, and air pollution [and] is responsible for approximately 14.5% of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions” (1). With greenhouse gas emissions overall at an historic high, veganism has thus become the single most effective way to reduce the negative human impact on the climate and the environment, and understanding how the stories of veganism are linguistically constructed will play an important role in promoting the lifestyle and influencing how society chooses to address key ecological issues, from climate change and biodiversity loss to environmental justice.
Mario Leto is assistant professor in the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. He has degrees in 20th-Century American Literature and Applied Linguistics and is currently working on his PhD in Ecolinguistics at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. He is the convener of the Japan Ecolinguistics Association, a local branch of the International Ecolinguistics Association. Contact information can be found at ieajapan.blogspot.com.
Maria Cristina Caimotto
Campaigning for cycling and well-being as resistance to hegemonic economic discourses
Advocacy groups campaigning for increases in everyday cycling often struggle to understand why policies have often failed to generate the expected results (Oosterhuis 2019), in spite of all the evidence we have on how beneficial everyday cycling is in terms of increased levels of health, road safety and well-being. This paper is based on the results of a study (Caimotto, forthcoming) which investigates Cycling Mobilities from the perspective of Ecolinguistics (Stibbe 2014; 2015) and Critical Discourse Studies (Fairclough and Wodak 1997). Inspired by the work of Lakoff (2010) and Mautner (2010) – and drawing insights from System Thinking (Meadows 2008) – it shows how the language we use, even when promoting active mobility, is deeply influenced by a market-related discourse and by “growthism” (Halliday 2001).
This paper reveals some of the pitfalls that cycling advocates need to avoid, but it mainly concentrates on positive discourse analysis (Martin 2004). The promotion of everyday cycling is envisaged as one of the possible “new stories that work better in the conditions of the world that we face” (Stibbe 2014, 217). Employing Stibbe’s ecosophy (2015, 14-15), an increase in the number of people cycling is presented as an effective and significant solution that celebrates life, increases well-being for present and future generations, generates empathy and increases levels of social justice (Sheller 2018; Walks 2015). Through the analysis of newspaper articles, institutional documents and spoken interviews, discourse strategies about cycling are observed in order to identify which linguistic features work best to foster alternative worldviews. The overall aim of this work is to show how discourses of cycling can be a starting point for the creation of new ways of framing ecosystems, life and what “well-being” can mean.
M. Cristina Caimotto is Assistant Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Torino, Italy. Her research interests include political discourse and environmental discourse, with a focus on ideology. She is the author of Discourses of Cycling, Road Users and Sustainability: an Ecolinguistic Investigation, a study that searches for a positive new discourse that would inspire and encourage cycling as a habitual means of transport, rather than simply exposing ecologically destructive discourse. She is also a cycling advocate.
An analysis of climate change discourses in the UK parliament (2006 – 2018)
The political implications of addressing the climate emergency have come into ever sharper focus over the past decade. As pressure mounts for a reassessment of environmental strategy, this presentation examines the UK parliament’s position through an analysis of language used in the debating chamber. It considers how politicians’ choice of words and topics reveal underlying narratives of accountability, and how these have shifted over time.
The project used corpus analysis to explore keywords and collocations related to “climate change” from the House of Commons over a twelve year period. It then applied narrative analysis to consider the discourses this data may represent. Three major discourses related to climate change framed the study: gradualism, scepticism and catastrophism (Urry 2015). The findings complemented research highlighting the dominance of gradualism in UK politics in the mid-2000s (Willis 2017). However it also suggested that apparent consensus on this issue has grown less stable over time, and that the scepticism discourse has seen some resurgence.
Narratives play a strong role in communicating political information and influencing opinion (Fløttum and Gjerstad 2017), and this analysis allowed for an examination of underpinning attitudes on acceptance, responsibility and action. These were explored through a close study of language related to dangers and threats; challenges and opportunities; science and experts; and denial and scepticism. The findings highlighted that climate change in the UK parliament was viewed as an abstract challenge or threat, often considered solely on economic grounds, largely ignoring social impact and non-humans.
In keeping with the conference theme, this research adds to the discussion on recognising and resisting hegemonic discourses of industrial societies. The presentation explores the evolving attitudes towards environmental responsibility and duty within the UK parliament. It highlights and critiques the dominant narratives on climate change, scrutinising both key language used and important topics omitted.
This project is an updated study based on my Linguistics MA dissertation at the University of Brighton, completed in 2017. I am currently a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University London, researching grammatical variation and change in English dialects. My research interests include sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics, and I am currently designing a diachronic corpus of spoken English, based on the sound archives of the British Library.
A tale of two narratives in a time of climate and ecological uncertainty: Rewilding as an inspiring imaginary or economic, utilitarian, value-free pragmatism?
With the media providing us with a constant flow of worrying messages about climate heating, ecological collapse and species extinction, it can be difficult to envision a way out of our current predicament. Indeed, many writers now question what they call apocalyptic narratives on environmental breakdown. Neimanis et al (2015) call for the environmental humanities to embrace the need for new, inspiring narratives regarding our relationship with the rest of the living world; stories that represent imaginaries that can perhaps galvanise our efforts through linguistically mediated representations of a better, more ecological future. Currently, we are presented with a paucity of such imaginaries through mainstream media channels. However, one imaginary that has gained some traction is the concept of rewilding. Writers such as George Monbiot and organisations such as the Lynx and Beaver Trusts, and Rewilding Europe are presenting persuasive arguments for the return of ‘keystone species’ and ‘ecological engineers’ to the UK and the rest of Europe. Key elements within this narrative are land use change and the development of more ecologically diverse and stable ecosystems in a time of ecological and climate uncertainty. Meanwhile, in Sweden, Greenpeace Sweden has highlighted the importance of criticising the state-run forestry company Sveaskog for greenwashing and managing Swedish forests as a form of forestry agriculture for the maximisation of profit rather than ecological integrity at a time in which the Swedish forestry model is being taken up around the world. Likewise, the Swedish environmental protection agency maintains a similarly utilitarian and instrumentalist perspective on the natural world. This talk will address an ongoing PhD project that seeks to apply the post-humanist methodology of diffractive reading (Haraway, 1992, 2004; Barad, 2003, 2007) to an examination of the imaginaries and discourses present within British, European (including rewilding Sweden) rewilding campaigns and those utilised by Sveaskog and the Swedish environmental protection agency.
Having started my career as a teacher of English as a foreign language and academic writing, I have spent the last twelve years working as a junior/adjunct lecturer at the University of Westminster and the University of Linköping, Sweden. As well as ecolinguistics, I teach a wide variety of linguistics subjects, such as critical discourse analysis, syntax, phonology, morphology and register analysis. I have recently published on an educational design research and action research project at Linköping University for the implementation of ecolinguistics within the English teacher degree programme. I am currently planning the writing of a book on ecolinguistics in education.
“the food we eat is responsible for 80% of tropical forest loss”: Visibility of the ‘environmental destroyer’ in activist campaign mails.
Appraisal markers (Martin and White, 2005) realised in grammatical metaphors and passive verbs structures make social actors obsolete, thus absolving them from responsibility and accountability (Fairclough, 2003:13). This study looks at the use of these two grammatical forms, as well as the participants embodying conceptual metaphor (e.g. ‘the food we eat is responsible…’, see Marìn-Arrese, 2002:3), in implying Judgements of companies, governments and other third-party text participants held responsible for social and environmental degradation in the online campaign communications of four groups: Greenpeace, The Green Party, The Story of Stuff, Freedom United.
I wish to propose an innovative form of presentation in which the online audience will initially be presented with 3 re-workings of an extract of an environmental campaign communication. The 3 re-worked texts will employ varying degrees of explicitness of Judgement, one employing explicit Judgement through epithet and predicative adjectives, another a mixture of adjectives and impersonalising structures (i.e. grammatical metaphor, passivisation, conceptual metaphor), while a final re-wording will employ only implicit Judgement through these impersonalising structures. The audience will be asked to rate each re-writing for their immediate perception of its potential real-world effectiveness in convincing the putative reader to take action. The results of this mini-survey will guide the direction taken by the researcher during the rest of the presentation.
The reason for taking this approach is that the rhetorical implications of using these various structures which encode different degrees of explicitness of Judgement is held to be uncertain. Many researchers (Fairclough, 2005; Fowler et al, 1979; Fowler, 1991; van Dijk, 2001b; Wodak, 2006, 2007) have argued that the use of these ‘agent-masking’, impersonalising structures is motivated by ideology as opposed to a more ‘objective’ re-telling of events, and thus should be avoided. However, the results of the present study show that these impersonalising structures are favoured over more explicit Judgements in social issue campaigning (59% impersonal vs. 41% explicit adjectives) compared to environmental campaigning (35% impersonal vs. 65% explicit adjectives). One reason for this is that the targeted third-party text participant in societal issue campaigns are often more dispersed and thus less well-defined than in environmental campaigns. However, as regards discoursal implications, the use of more ‘agent-masking’ structures allows these social issue campaigns to employ a continued textual focus on the impacted text participant, that is the victim of the perceived social injustice. This could promote greater empathy with the victim as opposed to outrage and possibly a sense of helplessness towards the agentively powerful ‘environmental/social destroyer’. So, the question to be discussed is: What are the discoursal implications of a facilitating the identification of the responsible agent, thus provoking a sense of outraged injustice, versus focusing on the impacted grammatical patient, thus favouring empathy and solidarity, in inspiring action in real-world environmental campaigns?
I’m a fourth year PhD student in Ecolinguistics at ‘La Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3’, which I hope to complete by December 2020. I have recently taught a course in Ecolinguistics at my local university, Aix-Marseille, to a group of students of the interdisciplinary Bachelors’ programme ‘Science and Humanities’ (see https://formations.univ-amu.fr/ME3SHU.html). As mentioned in my abstract, I have also recently finished translating a book on nature poetry from a broad range of languages/cultures. The proposed presentation builds upon one I made at ICE4, but has completely new content, a deeper, more complete analytical basis and new proposals for environmental campaigning.
Revealing the Greenness of Northern Words. Linking Ecolinguistics with the Study of Finnish Poetry
In my presentation, I examine how to bring together ecolinguistics and ecopoetics by analyzing the poetry of the Finnish poet Eila Kivikk’aho from an ecolinguistic perspective. Kivikk’aho is an interesting poet in the field of Finnish literature, as her poems reflect both the urbanization of Finnish society and the modernization of Finnish poetry during the 1900s. She is not political in the traditional sense of the word, but ecolinguistic analysis enables demonstrating how her poetry carries powerful ecocentric attitudes and criticizes the anthropocentrism of Western culture.
In my presentation, I apply Arran Stibbe’s concept of salience to my analysis by exploring the natural world’s agency and the activation of the more-than-human world in Kivikk’aho’s poetry. By utilizing the analytical tools of Stibbe’s Ecolinguistics (2015), I also examine how the poems question conventional nature and human regarding cultural evaluations of the West and reform them in an ecocentric way. Thus, I highlight how ecolinguistic methods are in a key position when revealing the environmental ethos of Kivikk’ahos poetry.
The aim of my presentation is to underline how ecolinguistics can crucially enrich ecopoetic approaches when dealing with poetry’s attitudes towards the natural world and exploring the relationship between human and the more-than-human world in a lyrical text. Poetry tends to be based on dense and charged language, in which hidden nuances, semantic layers and thematic roles truly matter, and therefore, if we want to understand poetry’s potential to speak for nature’s own sake, we need green theory that consists of both linguistics and literary criticism. I hope that my presentation strengthens the collaboration of ecolinguistics and ecopoetics and emphasizes the ecological power of the northern poetry.
Reeta Holopainen is a second-year doctoral student of Finnish literature in the Department of the Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her key interests concern ecocriticism, lyric theory and the study of Finnish poetry. In her dissertation, she explores the Finnish poet Eila Kivikk’aho’s poetry from an ecocritical perspective. The dissertation examines how an environmental ethos is constructed in Kivikk’aho’s poems and how nature makes Kivikk’aho’s poetry political in a sense that has not been properly recognized before. Holopainen also writes poetry reviews and has previously worked in textual research projects.
Human–Nonhuman Animal Dichotomy: Towards a Harmonious Relationship Between Human and Nonhuman Animals
Recently, the world has been facing a number of critical issues related to the environment such as global warming that has turned into climate crisis, forest fires, different animal species’ extinction to name a few, which threaten the wellbeing of our planet. A significant part of these issues is caused by nonhuman animal exploitation, in particular, for food. Being responsible for heavy greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, land and water pollution, animal agriculture continues to grow as a response to the food demand of an increasing population around the world. Part of the reason why people rely heavily on animal products is due to the fact that many nonhuman animals are not seen as sentient individuals who, along with humans, deserve to live, and rather perceived as food and objects for consumption. This reflects a long-established hierarchy and an anthropocentric human / nonhuman animal dichotomy. This paper attempts to answer the question about how to minimize the existing dichotomy between human and nonhuman animals and increase a harmonious, free from speciesism relationship between them which may lead to humans resisting exploitation of nonhuman animals and choosing plant-based living. Language plays an important role in shaping how we look at things and subsequently how we see the world. Therefore, applying an ecolinguistic perspective, the author searched for the language that could be beneficial with regards to nonhuman animals. This study looked into three vegan campaigns, Be Fair Be Vegan, Go Vegan World, and Veganuary, and with the help of a multimodal approach, analysed both their language and image features in order to identify the underlying stories. The language analysis included van Leeuwen’s (2008) social actor and social action theory, while the “Grammar of Visual Design” by Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) was implemented in the image analysis. The stories (Stibbe, 2015) were further compared to the ecosophy of the study and proved to be beneficial with regards to nonhuman animals.
Alena Zhdanava, originally from Belarus, is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University Malaya. Her research interests include critical discourse analysis, ecolinguistic studies and multimodal analysis in the areas of ecology, environment, nonhuman and human animals, and veganism. She has been vegan for over a decade and has frequently given talks with regards to nonhuman animals and veganism.
Panel Presentation 2
Chaired by Mariana Roccia
All Activism is Political Activism: Discursive Strategies for Animal Rights in Argentina
As Freeman (2014: 17) points out, in order to promote veganism among an audience that eats meat, animal rights activists must face a communication dilemma that all anti-hegemonic social movements have historically faced: Should their campaign messages be more pragmatic and utilitarian (emphasizing reform and human self-interest) or more radical and ideological? (emphasizing the concepts of justice, abolition and altruism). In practice, this means deciding between meeting pragmatically with the people where they are (for example, messages that promote the reduction of meat and the welfare of farm animals) or taking them further to challenge discriminatory beliefs, that is, messages that promote animal rights and veganism.
This paper aims to analyze the resources deployed by four NGOs: Animal Save Argentina, Animal Libre Argentina, Vegano Cordobés and Voicot, in four different graphic campaigns, classifying them based on their orientation, pragmatic or ideological. The corpus includes video and posters. For this purpose we will adopt the theoretical framework proposed by Kress & van Leeuwen (2006), extended by Hart (2014), and the classification proposed by Ekman (1978, 2003) for the analysis of facial expressions.
We will argue that Argentine NGOs, based on the tradition of political activism in the country even though when they move away from traditional practices, work from an ideological perspective, separating activism from academia, while those with international roots are based on the utilitarian perspective for the construction of new cruelty-free narratives.
Diego Forte is a researcher at University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. PhD candidate at the same university. He inscribes His work in the fields of Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis and Ecolinguistics. He has numerous publications and has lectured on both topics both in Spanish and English. He is Regional Representative for Argentina and Subject Representative in CDA in International Ecolinguistics Association. He is the founder of the local research group Ecolingüística Argentina.
Extinction, Joy, and Eco-Linguistic Activism
We face a monumental ecological mess that we have helped create. Despite the myriad environmental philosophical movements, there is no armchair solution to global ecological collapse. The voice of the activist is only as good as the attention span and memory of her audience, both of which are highly contested in the digitally-mediated world. To overcome these challenges, the activist should think about narratives differently, both by extending her voice so that it persists over time and by identifying and disrupting narratives that seek to silence others. This project resonates with the ethical consequences of radical embodied ecolinguistics, which challenges mind-body and human-world dualisms. While Steffensen (2011) is primarily concerned with challenging the incidental extended mind hypothesis of Clark and Chalmers (1998), the impact of his work extends far beyond the philosophy of mind. Steffensen invokes the image of the beaver’s dam to demonstrate how languaging shapes our world, extends in space, and persists in time. Thinking of the ecological crisis in this embodied way properly situates activism as a project that must both challenge those who silence others and ensure her message remains accessible over time. To provide the activist with tools to accomplish these goals, I propose that we turn to the often overlooked wisdom of modern Shinto embodied in the work of Marie Kondo. My goals for this project are twofold. The first is to explore pragmatic methods for engaging with, organizing, and discarding the many persistent monuments of misinformation that stand in the way of ecological reform. The second i s to do so without slipping into a theoretical project that can only be understood by specialist philosophers. In some ways, the realization of the present ecological crisis can be compared with the shameful realization one has when caught living in a disorderly home. While our poor practices have contributed heavily to the mess we are in, at least we do not have to deal with it alone.
Jonathan McKinney is a PhD candidate in Philosophy and a MA student in Experimental Psychology in the Center for Cognition, Action, and Perception (CAP) at the University of Cincinnati. Jonathan’s research focuses primarily on Cross-Cultural Embodied Cognitive Science, Comparative Japanese philosophy, and community-based inquiry. Jonathan’s current projects include the development of tools for teaching engaging and community-based classes online, exploring agent-world, agent-tool, and agent-agent relationships, and establishing spaces for international and interdisciplinary research. The thread that ties these projects together is an interest in escaping historical boundaries between cultures, disciplines, and between human beings and the world.
Douglas Ponton & Peter Mantello
The representation of Nature in Covid-19 Memes: Contagion and Public Discourse
Social media has become the pre-eminent tool of civic engagement and political expression, and it has played a significant role in visualizing and shaping public discourse in the face of the recent global pandemic. Memes have become vital markers for communicating and visualizing public sentiment during a period of enforced social isolation which has confined citizens around the world to their homes.
During the crisis, the production and dissemination of memes provided a means for online community members to find and share their voices, and also played a crucial role in visualizing, amplifying and alleviating public fears over the dangers of contagion. However, after the first phase of humorous or ironic memes, and those singling out specific political targets, some memes began to emerge with ecological themes. Such memes highlighted positive aspects of Covid 19, since the drastic fall-off in human industrial activity, mass tourism and other activities, while provoking untold damage to global balance sheets, were undoubtedly beneficial in environmental terms. The virus was represented as the voice of Nature, or as a hidden friend, revealing truths that mankind, in its headlong pursuit of a capitalist project, had forgotten about. Thus, the lockdowns were contextualised as periods of enforced meditation, opportunities to reflect on deeper realities than normal daily routines afford.
Our paper explores the representation of Nature in Covid 19 memes, from an interdisciplinary perspective that comprises Media Theory and Linguistics. It identifies features of memes from a multimodal perspective (Kress 2010) that probes their pragmatic significance (Kecskes 2013; Senft 2014) and interpersonal dimension.
Douglas Mark Ponton is Associate Professor of English Language and Translation at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania. His research interests include ecolinguistics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, pragmatics, political discourse analysis and critical discourse studies. His research deals with a variety of social topics such as tourism, ecology, local dialect and folk traditions, including proverbs and Blues. Recent publications include For Arguments Sake: Speaker Evaluation in Modern Political Discourse (2011 Cambridge Scholars), Understanding Political Persuasion: Linguistic and Rhetorical Aspects (2019 Vernon Press), and Blues in the 21st Century: Myth, Self-Expression and Transculturalism (2020 Vernon Press).
Peter Mantello is Professor of Media, Politics and the Cyber Realm at APU, Japan. His area of specialization focuses on the intersection between technology, conflict, AI and surveillance. Combining media studies, International Relations theories, data studies, and technologies studies, Peter is interested in the various feedback loops between media, technology, popular culture, and big data. Currently, he is a principal investigator on an international project with UK researchers to study the impact of Emotional Artificial Intelligence in Smart City Design. A co-founder and editor of TheVisionMachine.com, a multi-platform project dedicated to issues surrounding war, peace, and media.
The linguistic underpinnings of environmental personhood
This paper examines a fundamental difference between the concepts of corporate and environmental personhood and argues that the encoding of the latter in indigenous languages can be used as a legal argument for conservation. Environmental personhood has emerged as part of a conservation strategy enabling landscapes to be named as legal persons, just as corporations have been defined as entities possessing juridical rights (Gordon, 2019). New constitutions in Ecuador (2008) and Bolivia (2010) recognized the rights of Pachamama ‘Mother Earth’, and in New Zealand (2014) environmental personhood was acknowledged for the Te Urewera forest and the Whanganui River. However, corporate and environmental personhood are only superficially analogous. Corporate personhood has always been a metaphor for pragmatic ends, allowing a corporation to sue, face liability, or own property. This metaphor may be seen as socially and environmentally pernicious (Stibbe, 2015). In contrast, environmental personhood can be literal: many communities living in endangered ecosystems do not restrict personhood to humans or animacy to animals (Descola, 2013). Dogon healers in Mali classify kapok trees as [+animate] beings, while Desana shamans in Colombia must negotiate with a [+person] forest spirit to determine how much hunting is allowed to maintain ecological balance. In Maori, possessive morphology indicates whether the noun is alienable (separable from the speaker) or inalienable: ancestral land is inalienable, such that the people belong to the land; the land does not belong to the people. Environmental personhood may be encoded in language through animacy hierarchies, numerical classifiers, direct object marking, relative pronouns, or verbs of existence. In indigenous communities resisting language shift, the linguistic encoding of ecological relations is argued to be an untapped source of legal argument for conservation, as well as an additional reason to promote bilingual education beyond a critical period for language attrition in childhood.
David Stringer is an Associate Professor of Second Language Studies at Indiana University. His research in linguistic approaches to bilingualism focuses on universal aspects of word meaning that play a role in grammar across languages. Research interests include language attrition, multilingualism in postcolonial societies, and biocultural diversity conservation (linking indigenous language revitalization to the conservation of ecosystems). Recent community outreach initiatives include the elementary school slideshow Saving Languages, Saving Species and the cinema series Biocultural Diversity: A Film Journey.
Valentina Boschian Bailo
Stories-in-progress: Communicating environmental migration.
Environmental migration is a wide-ranging issue affecting the lives and identities of many people in migrating and host communities. A relationship between ecological and socio-cultural systems and the ability to adapt underlies this phenomenon (Warner, 2010). Environmental migration is often framed and approached in ways that work against the interests of migrants and host communities and may affect the interdependency between humans and their lived environments.
This paper aims at exploring the discourse of intergovernmental organizations and media outlets. More specifically, the study focuses on the main representations of environmental migration, migrants and host communities, and the role attributed to the environment in causing environmental migration. Mainstream authoritative representations play a relevant role in building stories around environmental migration and its interrelatedness with other factors, and set boundaries to both understanding and action (Stibbe, 2012). Environmental migration as emerging from the texts analysed is an issue of power as well as human and environmental justice. The study about the way environmental migration is framed will contribute reshaping understanding of the phenomenon and offer new insights to deal with it in an effective way based on human rights principles.
This study combines eco-critical discourse and corpus analysis of two specialized corpora-built ad-hoc with open access publications and news articles, and it examines language used for environmental migration in institutional and official documents as compared to news discourse. Ecolinguistics is used as a framework for exploring the way language construes and impacts on our views of environmental issues and the participants involved (Stibbe 2014, 2015; Fill and Penz 2018).
The interest at the basis of this paper is a renewed caring attitude towards the ecosystem, its inhabitants and their close connection, together with the need to approach environmental migration in a considerate and humane way.
Valentina Boschian Bailo is a PhD student in Linguistic and Literary Studies at the University of Udine (Italy). Her research project investigates the discourse of international organisations and newspapers on environmental migration, using eco-critical discourse analysis and corpus analysis. She graduated at the University of Udine and has an MA European and Extra-European Languages and Literatures cum laude. She won the Panicali Award in 2016 for her Master’s dissertation Identity Construction in News Discourse. ‘Refugees’: a Case Study. She has been a visiting PhD student at University of Gloucestershire (UK) between 2018 and 2019.
Dirty or clean? Frameworks for waste
“We’ve made it do that people really don’t have to connect to their waste at all really. Don’t have to think about it”
The language that is used by waste professionals reveals the range of frames with which it is currently possible to talk about garbage. Waste is framed in relation to business and economics, the environment and nature and in relation to cultural norms about dirt and matter being out of place. More generally, the language of waste focusses on value(s), systems and cycles. In this paper, I analyse the language used by waste professionals in Seattle, Washington to identify the different frames through which waste is seen. Close comparison of these frames reveals their absences and tensions, especially in relation to business and environmental understandings of waste. In addition to documenting these frames, I argue that a distinction between use value and exchange value is important in the field of waste as it helps to distinguish between waste as commodity and waste as a (natural) resource. I further argue that by considering different conceptions of time (natural, cultural and individual) it becomes possible to see the kinds of actions that need to be taken in order to deal with waste in an environmentally sensitive way. Finally, by reflecting on recent changes in attitudes to plastic waste, arguably caused by a media event, I suggest that the frames themselves may be useful in reminding and reframing our relationship with waste.
Annabelle Mooney is Professor Language and Society at the University of Roehampton. She has previously worked on the language of human rights and the language of money.
Morgan Sleeper & Jessica Love-Nichols
A musico-linguistic analysis of the imagined futures of ‘eco grime’
Although music is an important medium through which people make sense of and communicate about environmental issues, it remains understudied within Environmental Communication and Ecolinguistics (Pedelty, 2015). This project aims to address that gap, and to show the inseparability of musical and linguistic elements in creating meaning within one genre of eco-musical activism called ‘eco grime’. The term ‘eco grime’ was first used by the Sydney-based netlabel Eco Futurism Corporation in 2015 for a particular genre of club-oriented electronic music which uses environmental sound samples, overt ecological themes, and a concern for ongoing environmental destruction (Brown, 2018). This analysis focuses on two eco grime artists in particular — Russian producer tropical interface and Finnish producer Forces. Tropical interface’s track eco world uses shifting musical instrumentation (from industrial machinery to flowing water) and linguistic elements (synthesized speech announcing “nature has higher priority than humanity”) to imagine a post-human future of natural harmony. Forces’ album Plastisphere imagines a different ecological utopia by theorizing microorganisms that feed on the plastic polluting the world’s oceans. Plastisphere was written using the audio programming language SuperCollider, which was ‘fed’ samples of EDM and synthetic trance music in order to procedurally generate glitchy, disquieting recycled music with chopped and screwed vocal music samples reconfigured to unintelligibility, marking the marginal status of humans in this imagined solution to ocean pollution. Through this musico-linguistic communication, eco grime recontextualizes ‘the club’ into a space of sonic environmental activism. Eco grime artists create a feeling of concern about environmental destruction, but also use this medium to imagine regenerative futures. Notably, these thematic elements are communicated through the combination of musical and linguistic elements, neither of which may be fully understood in isolation — this project therefore analyzes them as inseparable components, jointly creating meaning through eco-musical activism.
Morgan Sleeper is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Macalester College in Minnesota, USA. His work focuses on musicolinguistics — the integration of musical data into structural and sociocultural linguistic analyses and language revitalisation efforts.
Jessica Love-Nichols is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Macalester College. Her research focuses on gender, class, and regional identities—how people position themselves and others linguistically and ideologically—and especially on the relationship of language and identity to environmental conservation.