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Metholdogy for Economic Discourse Analysis in Climate Change Research Paper


Implications for Using Genre Analysis and Rhetoric Analysis

The analysis of economic writing requires as multi-dimensional approach with regard to many reasons. One of them is confined to the idea that economic discourse has always presented the economy as it really was. Its objective existence, therefore, can be predicted and interpreted through many models and techniques, but the actual object under consideration always remains a constant (Garzone and Sarangi, 2007, p. 311).

Further, discourse analysis of economics is strongly associated with discourse communities that have “a broadly agreed set of common public goals, mechanism of intercommunication which provide channels for participations in order to facilitate the exchange of information and feedback, the possession and use of more than one genre” (Garzone and Sarangi, 2007, p. 312).

Regarding the fact that knowledge is a decisive factor of social change, the use of linguistic devices, particularly genres, as means of persuasion is essential to communicate economic ideas in a more persuasive way.

Judging from the above-presented assumptions, genre provides us with broader opportunities for producing change in the economic discourse, which can be seen in different newspaper articles on business and economics. Garzone and Sarangi (2007) claim that genre often define the style and position of a particular political party describing economic events.

This is why discourse communities apply to several genres to express their position on their economic writings. The author also provides an example of Lex column from The Financial Times to provide that it “identifies its own discourse community as being made up of “many of the financial community” who need to be informed in detail about company and performance” (Garzone and Sarangi, 2007, p. 314).

In this respect, genre can be defined as a specific aspect of discourse analysis, either written of spoken, aimed at rendering ideological content to a specific target audience.

Wherever the exposition of economic facts provides an objective account, rhetorical analysis explains how these formal facts are intertwined with personal opinion of an author. In this respect, a rhetoric analysis of the economic discourse draws the parallels between logic and science. It aims to understand, debunk, or admire as specific economic position.

According to McCloskey (1998), “rhetorical sophistication is an alternative to reading scientific texts the way the implied reader does, a reader who believes, for example in talking bears” (p. 19). Rhetoric, thus, identifies a specific angle of ideological position.

In this respect, “…all knowledge implies a certain perspective on things…and bears the promise not only of illuminating key features…of the discipline of economics, but also of identifying and problematizing the epistemological, political, and moral issues” (Vestergaard, 2009, p. 20).

Hence, the power of argumentation and representation of the discipline from different perspectives endows the economic discourse with exhaustive characterization and analysis.

Due to the fact that the main goal of the research is to define the rhetoric devices used to underscore the economic discourse in climate change, such concepts as argumentation, discourse coalition overview, as well as the concept of discursive information used by Foucault, should be applied.

All these theories contribute to revealing the interaction between language and discourse to render economic debates on climate change. Moreover, it provides a sufficient explanation and justification for applying rhetoric and genre analysis of economic discourse. In particular, it draws the direct connection between rhetoric and discourse and genre and discourse.

Rationale for Argumentative Discourse Analysis

As it has been previously defined, knowledge is considered an important factor for social change. Discourse analysis, therefore, seeks to persuade a specific audience that a specific object should be considered from the define position. Because social change is largely influenced by different ideological influences, argumentation is another approach to highlight a specific perspective of economic discourse.

Assuming the fact that argumentation and discourse are inherently connected, the latter can be effected in a certain genre or situation. With regard to this, Amossy (2009) claims that “verbal organization and socio-institutional components are closely intertwined, meaning that context appears as an integral part of the text” (p. 314).

Synthesis of linguistic approaches and social perspectives allows to enhance the economic discourse. Agreeing with the fact that to communicate the idea is identical to introduce a specific action, the discourse analysis can be interpreted as “interaction, emphasizing the primacy of dialogue, or actual exchanges” (Amossy, 2009, p. 315).

Accepting this assumption, it should be noted that genres of discourses are always presented by institutional and formal models, which lie at the core of discourse analysis.

Overall, the connection of rhetoric and discourse is revealed through the centrality of language. Specifically, “…argumentation relies on natural language where univocity is neither possible, nor desirable” (Amossy, 2009, p. 315).

As a result, the inevitability of ambivalence and bias argues the necessity of analyzing the role of rhetoric devices and genre analysis in framing an economic discourse. The argumentative dimensions of discourse, therefore, can be revealed through effective presentation, which implies use of repetitions, connotations and concrete elements to amplify the overall impression of the text on the reader.

Rationale for Discourse Coalition Analysis

Because economic discourse encapsulates different perspectives on objectives facts, the analysis of positions must be carried out with regard to the concept of discourse coalitions. Aligning this approach to discussing the economic perspective of climate change is reasonable because it allows to approach systematically to studying the problem.

The idea of discourse coalitions was first introduced by Hajer, who defines the notion as a group of actors sharing common concepts, ideas, and categories, by means of which a specific phenomenon is provided with social meaning and political frame (Fischer and Forester, 1993, p. 9).

Hence, the success of climate change coalition lies in their ability to introduce their linguistic categories into the practices and methodologies shaping the current political deliberations. In addition, Hajer’s theory is based on defining the concepts of storylines and discourse coalitions (Waterhout, 2008, p. 23).

In this respect, storylines are regarded as generative statements connected the unrelated components of discourse, which allows to bring in new understanding and meanings to a particular subject (Klamer & Solow, 1988; Mackie, 1998). In their turn, discourse coalitions are organized around such storylines, which makes those much more influential.

The above-presented definitions justify and underscore the role of knowledge and rhetoric in introducing social and political change. Therefore, using a coalition discourse analysis at the core of the research will contribute to creating a framework for the defining the importance of economic discourse based on ideological positions.

Using specific storylines is possible only through introducing specific linguistic devices and the power of rhetoric to attract as much supporters as possible. In this respect, exploring how rhetoric devices influence discourse coalition development allows to understand the economic discourse of climate change.

Understanding the Role of Foucauldian Discourse Analysis

The current economic discourse in climate changes proves the existence of economic pluralism, which implies the necessity to explore different methodologies and models for studying different positions. The fact that economists apply to a wide range of linguistic devices to either produce or expand the economic theories is undeniable.

In this respect, it is imperative to emphasize the discursive, non-epistemological nature of economic discourse that is primarily based on the textual representation of knowledge. More importantly, the new outlook on non-epistemological-discursive aspects of economic frameworks creates a fresh insight into studying economic methodologies.

This outlook was first presented by Foucault, who views economic discourse as a set of discursive elements united by a specific social meaning, frame.

Foucault’s archeological framework seeks to “to understand how a particular discourse acquires the status of scientificity, how it creates in itself…the conditions of what counts as truth” (Kologlugil, 2010, p. 6). Regarding this perspective, learning the truth about reality is not always the main purpose of scientific discourse because the later is often evaluated with broader social and political concepts.

Because the main purpose of the economic discourse is to deliver a specific social and political connotation of a specific idea, the review of basic ideas of Foucault’s archaeological approach explains the reasons for introducing knowledge within a specific contextual frame.

At this point, consideration of a historical period matters when it comes to analysis economic discourse in the climate change crisis. More importantly, it provides new strategies and approaches to exploring the actual aims of discourse coalitions.

Data Collection And Data Analysis

Identifying Types of Data

The gather material includes predominantly texts from websites. There texts were presented in the form of newspaper articles, columns, and blogs. All the information corresponds to the topic of discussion – economic discourse in climate change crisis.

Based on the discourse coalition analysis, the chosen sources of information have been divided into two parts – the climate change advocacy discourse coalition and climate change skepticism discourse coalition.

The chosen positions dictate opposite ideologies with regard to such topics as economic growth, climate change cost and benefit analysis, economic influence on environmental problems, and economic polices aimed either at emphasizing the problem of climate change, or ignoring this phenomenon.

All these topics were reviewed with regard to discourse coalition analysis, macro-argument analysis, and genre analysis of discourse, and rhetoric analysis of discourse. All these frameworks were used to analyze the collected data and define what kinds of data should be used to fulfill the research objectives and answer the research questions.

Judging from the above, there were six types of social actors were used to explore the main economic aspects of climate change discourse. The rationale for choosing this website is predetermined by the political framework and ideologies represented by those organizations.

At this point, such social actors as environmental non-governmental organizations, governments, policy think tanks, newspaper articles, and newspaper columnist from respectable publishers. By means of Hajer’s approach to discourse analysis, I have managed to choose the sites either supporting the climate change prevention policies or rejecting the necessity of introducing such measures.

Criteria Used For Choosing the Samples

While choosing the samples for the rhetoric and genre analysis, I used search engine machine and keywords “climate change” and “economy”. I used these phrases both separately to define how often articles on climate change discuss economic problems and, vice versa, in what ways economic entities touch upon the problem of climate change.

In this respect, an important notice was revealed. While reviewing the climate change topics of The Wall Street Journals, I encountered many articles and blogs reflecting disagreement with the policy of green economy. In contrast, I reviewed economic topics of actors supporting the policy of climate change to have defined the direct congruency between these two perspectives.

While searching for pertinent information, I apply use keywords “climate change” and “economy” both within potential websites and outside those. I was primarily focused on newspaper articles, blogs, commentaries, and newspaper columns because these sources of information effectively communicated ideological ideas of specific social actors.

They completely differed from scientific articles and other scholarly materials because they did not reveal a completely objective evaluation of a specific event, phenomenon, or historical figures.

Hence, scientific style aims to represent reality in an objective way and deliver facts in a transparent and clear way. In this regard, paying attention to genres and styles of representing information is the basis criteria for picking up examples for the given research.

The newspaper articles, columnists, and blogs have been selected in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. Newspaper titles as signifiers of economic highlights in climate change. They also provide contextual information with regard to genre and rhetoric devices applied in the body of an article. For instance, some articles were chosen using only rhetoric approach. While searching for metaphors and other rhetoric devices, I looked through the titles containing connotations, metaphors, and similes (e.g. “How Even Alternative Energy Could Threaten The Planet”, “Working For The Climate: Renewable Energy And The Green Job [R]Evolution”, “Climate Change Debate Brewing In American Classrooms”, etc.).
  2. From which site, several articles were chosen with regard to the authors disclosing the issue under consideration. In particular, they should reveal articles of no older than 10 years, with particular reference to climate change crisis. Specific attention was specifically paid to activities and political ideologies pursued by those authors. For instance, Paul Krugman’s articles were chosen with great reliance on his economic views and ideologies expressed in difference spheres.
  3. Finally, articles expressing clearly their positions, either in favor or against the climate change, were chosen. Biased and ambivalent articles, though related to climate change and economy, were withdrawn.

Overall, the chosen articles are closely related to such concepts as global warming, carbon dioxide emissions, economic outcomes of bio-fuel introductions, restrictions to the Kyoto Protocol, framing a new green economy, governmental investments into the climate change, employment rates, and economic growth.

Characteristics of Discourse Coalitions

While sorting out the articles revealing the ideologies of climate change advocacy discourse, I will refer to such actors as Greenpeace, David Suzuki Foundation, newspapers, The New York Time, The Globe and the Mail, and The Toronto Star. While reviewing official websites, I was primarily focused on the mission and vision of these actors to define their position, as well as economic outlook, on the climate change ideology.

All these articles supporting this side of debate often apply to the word-combination “green economy” to advocate their ideologies. As an opposition, I have chosen such coalitions as Junk Science, Fraser Institute, Frontier Center, National Post and the Wall Street Journal. However, some of the actors introduce articles that produce bias with regard to their position due to the ambivalence presented in their storylines.

Overall, while collecting data with regard to the thematic requirements, 22 articles were chosen to reveal the economic ideologies of climate change advocacy coalition, and 11 articles to support the position of climate change skeptics. Though the number of chosen articles supporting coalitions’ ideologies is not equal, it should influence the study of political ideologies and economic discourse of environmental issues.

Before reviewing the selected samples of articles on economic discourse in climate change, I reviewed many articles dedicated to the connection between discourse and climate change debates that primarily focus on theoretical frameworks and techniques for exposing data.

Hence, overview of basic definitions of argumentation, macro-argument, discourse coalitions, and rhetoric devices. To make sure that the chosen method is reliable and valid, I looked through the findings presented by Goldschmidt and Szmrecsanyi (2007), who applied to the rhetoric devices while analyzing texts on economics.

Identifying the Basic Aspects of Genres to Analyze Data

While referring to basic aspects of genre and rhetoric analysis, the first stage of research sought to define the common patterns of exposing specific policies and ideologies in various articles. In this respect, the text analysis was mainly premised on genre theories, theory of rhetoric, and discourse analysis.

Importantly, all these theoretical frameworks were analyzed in combination as well to define how different complex of devices was used to communicate a specific ideological position. The selected discourse was characterized as themes, debates and oppositions created with regard to climate change ideologies.

While defining economic perspectives of considering the environment problem, the articles provide an exhaustive overview of ecological problems.

At the same time, the economic angle of climate change ideologies contributes to a clearer identification of stances represented by different coalitions. Judging from the findings, most articles refer to climate change is the major reasons either for restructuring the economy or for aggravating the economic situation. These principles were traced almost in all articles.

Overall, the rhetorical and genre analysis was divided into several parts. Thus, each climate change coalition underwent textual analysis with regard to presence of such rhetorical devices as metaphors, logos, ethos, and pathos, words with connotative meaning, rhetorical questions, and argumentations.

Further, each side of debate was considered through the prism of social representation to define to what target audiences the given discourses are addressed. The next step will involve the analysis of the chosen articles with regard to coalitions’ positions with regard ideology definition. In this respect, some articles were chosen just to define the core directions under which the material was to be analyzed.

Discourse structures analysis is also an important addition to defining what frameworks and concepts the authors used to communicate their ideas.

Finally, the data analysis was performed with regard analysis of discourses from dynamic perspective and mode of production, which also provides an important insight into the study. In addition, though some articles directly relate to discussing economic discourse in climate change, they were not used as a raw data, but as theoretical support.

References

Amossy, R. (2009). The New Rhetoric’s Inheritance. Argumentation and Discourse Analysis. Argumentation, 23(3), 313-324.

Fischer, F. & Forester, J. (1993). The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning. US: Taylor & Francis.

Garzone, G., & Sarangi, S. (2007). Discourse, Ideology, and Specialized Communication. US: Peter Lang.

Goldschmidt, N., & Szmrecsanyi, B. (2007). What Do Economists Talk About? A Linguistic Analysis of Published Writing in Economic Journals. American Journal Of Economics And Sociology, 66(2), 335-37.

Klamer, A., & Solow, R. (1988). The Consequences of economic rhetoric. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kologlugil, S. (2010). Michel Foucault’s archaeology of knowledge and economic discourse. Erasmus Journal For Philosophy & Economics, 3(2), 1-25.

Mackie, C. D. (1998). Canonizing Economic Theory: How Theories and Ideas Are Selected in Economics. US: M. E. Sharpe.

McCloskey, D. N. (1998). The Rhetoric of Economics. US: University of Wisconsin Press.

Vestergaard, J. (2009). Discipline in the Global Economy?: International Finance and the End of Liberalism. US: Taylor & Francis.

Waterhout, B. (2008). The Institutionalisation of European Spatial Planning. US: IOS Press.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Metholdogy for Economic Discourse Analysis in Climate Change." January 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/metholdogy-for-economic-discourse-analysis-in-climate-change/.

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