Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
Othman Al Shboul
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
February 28, 2020 at 09:00 AM,Patterson Room - 448
Advisor: Dr. Sage Graham
Ecolinguistically informed critical discourse analysis of political speech on climate change policies in the United States of America
ABSTRACT: This study uses a mixed-methods approach to explore how climate change is conceptualized in the politics of the United States from the perspective of Critical Discourse Analysis and Ecolinguistics. I analyzed all the statements and letters issued by the governors and mayors who opposed the American president, Donald Trump, when he announced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement on climate change that 195 countries around the world signed. The qualitative analysis employs CDA-based methodology (Critical Metaphor Analysis) to investigate politicians' metaphorical choices made to influence public opinion and influence policies about climate change in the US. These different types of metaphors reinforce the rhetoric that creates climate change as an ongoing process where politicians hold different sociopolitical views towards this environmental problem. They try to make these views to be perceived as realities by the public through discursive use of language features. This is followed by a quantitative corpus analysis to investigate the changes in the discourse about climate change in the media before and after Donald Trump's announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from Paris agreement on climate change in 2017. The results indicate that climate change is framed as an immediate threat that the policy makers should seriously deal with. This study can guide us to identify which politicians/groups make climate change a top priority. That is, politicians/groups that predominately use metaphors from certain domains such as war, construction and journey are more concerned about climate change than politicians/groups that use metaphors from domains such as unfairness and business. This is because war, journey and construction seek out solutions for climate change (since they imply taking actions to address this problem). Metaphors drawn from unfairness and business, on the other hand, restrain action on climate change since they create excuses for delaying action or even not dealing with this environmental problem.