Published by the Journal of Language and Politics/ John Benjamins Publishing Company
Authors: Hunter Vaughan (Senior Research Associate, Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy), Anne Pasek, Nicholas R. Silcox, Nicole Starosielski
Over the past three decades, corporate branding has trended strongly towards environmental conscientiousness and green rhetoric, often heralded under the term “sustainability” – a broad and mutable rhetorical strategy that not only serves industry self-interest but is mobilized by civil society actors as well. This tension is especially apparent in the information communication technologies (ICT) sector. Employing Wittgenstein’s concept of the language-game, this article describes how sustainability has been deployed by tech companies, and how these efforts have also been contested – and strategically mobilized – by activist environmental non-profits and critical scholars seeking to reform tech sector practices. Combining environmental communication, political economy, and discourse analysis, we investigate the conceptualization and communication of sustainability as a discourse within and against the sector.