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Environmental communications: The reader's perspective

Haigh, Matthew (2014) 'Environmental communications: The reader's perspective.' Semiotica . (Forthcoming)

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Abstract

Offers a framework that recognizes that readers contribute to the settled meanings of hortatory texts. Provides an illustrative case using narratives issued by certain pressure groups descriptive of the ‘environmental performance’ levels of companies, and the pronouncements of environmental regulators. The reader group is represented by a non-random sample of high-level executives in financial institutions, all of whom had, prior to the study, claimed to be interested in environmental issues. Although the participants thought the texts important, none had found a use for them in the workplace. The principal reason is that these communications did not chime with readers’ professional rationalities. The outcomes of the study carry two main implications. One, the depth and range of insights gained suggest that the analytical framework can be applied to a range of hortatory texts and a range of authoritative reader groups. Two, the equivocation of authoritative readers towards environmental communications may explain why environmental regulation has had limited efficacy. It is unlikely that financial institutions en masse will address environmental issues before and until communicators frame their material in terms of investors’ dominant cognitive rationalities.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Centre for Water and Development
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Financial and Management Studies > Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law > Centre of Law, Environment and Development
ISSN: 16133692
Depositing User: Matthew Haigh
Date Deposited: 06 May 2014 11:28
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/18369

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