50 Shades of Green - en undersøgelse af uklare begreber i miljøkommunikation

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Studenteropgave: Speciale


The aim of this thesis is to vary the existing knowledge on ambiguity and vagueness in the field of environmental communication. There has been a tendency in the existing research to assume, that use of vague or ambiguous terms like green, sustainable and environmentally friendly is in all regards inconvenient when it comes to communicating environmental matters to consumers. Since it has been assumed without further studies, this study examines it closer by focusing on how the receivers of environmental communication perceive the three terms. The thesis has a linguistic approach and draws on theories such as eco-linguist Peter Mühlhäusler,framing theorists such as George Lakoff, Robert Entman and Deborah Tannen and different approaches to vagueness and ambiguity, among others Herbert Paul Grice, Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson and Eric M. Eisenberg. In addition, the study provides a model of seven types of linguistic vagueness. The empirical basis of the study is eight interviews with citizens of Copenhagen aged 23-46 years, who are interested in environmental matters. A citymap of the sustainable initiatives in Copenhagen, made by the company ‘Go Green Copenhagen’, is used as a methodical tool in the interviews. This study shows, that use of vague and ambiguous terms like green, sustainable and environmentally friendly can be both inconvenient and convenient for consumers in their daily lives. On one hand the vagueness and ambiguity of the terms, and the lack of additional explanation, makes the consumers confused and skeptical. On the other hand, the knowledge of environmental problems is very complex, and the terms therefore serve a purpose by simplifying and thereby conveying complex knowledge. The openness of the terms also makes it possible for consumers to interpret them in different ways, depending on the specific context and their personal interests. Both advantages makes it easier for them to act on recommendations to have a more sustainable lifestyle. The results also show, that the context is an important factor in the interviewees' assessment of the three terms. Firstly, it makes a big difference if they are to judge them in proportion to defining the terms or acting on them in their everyday lives. Secondly, the contexts of environmental matters as marketing and a trend seems to make them more skeptical. Thirdly, the contexts of the study such as the subject and the interview situation are crucial for how they construct meaning.

UddannelserKommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 sep. 2014
VejledereSanne Knudsen


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