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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 488739
Subject Coordinator for Communication, Media and Culture
My work focuses on the use of linguistic techniques (especially computational techniques using large corpora) for the critical analysis of environmental, social and political issues. I am especially interested in how business organisations conceive their relations with the natural environment and how they present themselves as working towards a sustainable society.
I coordinate the Communication, Media & Culture programme, where I also teach about semiotics and discourse theory; research methodology in the social sciences; design for computer-mediated communication; and critical approaches to the persuasion industries.
I am also module leader for U75168 Independent Study, U75190 Interdisciplinary Dissertation and U75199 Dissertation.
My current projects address questions of sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility reporting, environmentally-themed public relations and advertising, and greenwash. My research takes a Digital Humanities approach, using computer-aided methods to examine large datsets of text-based communication in order to model the social and cultural dynamics that motivate it.
More broadly, I am interested in using critical discourse analysis to investigate shifts in social relations of production, especially the social impact of managerialism as an "expert system"; societal representations of labour; and the managerialisation of the self, personal life and the environment.
Together with Andrea Macrae, I convene OBLaDi, the Oxford Brookes Language & Discourse research group. I am also book review editor for Discourse & Society.
Keywords: written pornography; online pornography; corpus linguistics; corpus-aided discourse studies; corpus stylistics; transitivity; gender
This paper seeks to explore whether business organizations' claims to regard the natural environment as a stakeholder are consistent with the way in which the environment is represented in their corporate social responsibility reporting. It applies corpus linguistic methods to analyze statistical regularities and differences in the discursive construction of core stakeholders, such as customers and employees, and that of the natural environment. Results show that the representation of the environment is not characterized by the agency and capacity for engagement that characterizes other stakeholders. While organizations overtly acknowledge a duty toward the environment, the dominant lexical and grammatical patterns in which it is represented tend to obscure the organization's responsibilities and emphasize its mitigating actions instead. Although the argument for regarding the environment as a stakeholder is based on the fact that it places objective and compelling demands on our actions, we look in vain for recognition of such demands in organizational reporting.
For up-to-date versions of my publications, please visit my Academia.edu profile or my Google Citations page.
Keywords: Critical discourse analysis, Corpus linguistics, Expert knowledge, Managerialism, Political Economy