Constructing social responsibility in mining company reports

Parsons, Richard and McKenna, Bernard J. (2006). Constructing social responsibility in mining company reports. In: Thao Lê and Megan Short, Proceedings of the International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research. International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research, Launceston, Australia, (595-608). 15-18 November 2005.


Author Parsons, Richard
McKenna, Bernard J.
Title of paper Constructing social responsibility in mining company reports
Formatted title
Constructing social responsibility in mining company reports ®
Conference name International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research
Conference location Launceston, Australia
Conference dates 15-18 November 2005
Proceedings title Proceedings of the International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research
Place of Publication Launceston, Australia
Publisher Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania
Publication Year 2006
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 978-1-86295-296-6
1862952965
Editor Thao Lê
Megan Short
Start page 595
End page 608
Total pages 14
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This paper analyses how a mining company discursively constructs its rationale for corporate social responsibility in its annual Sustainability Review. Increasingly, large profit-making corporations are seeking to demonstrate their social and environmental responsibility, typically publishing annual reports as ‘evidence’ of their performance. In Australia , mining companies as an industry sector proportionally produce one of the highest numbers of such reports (CAER, 2004).

There are four pragmatic and philosophical reasons for these developments:
1. Good for Business
2. Political Pressure: The concepts of sustainability and sustainable development, meanwhile, emerged from political debates, and were popularised in the ‘Brundtland report’, or Our Common Future (WCED, 1987), giving institutional effect to the “green agenda”.
3. Risk and Image Management: Yergin and Stanislaw (2002) assert that the success of capitalism depends on its ability to appraise risk and uncertainty. Achieving “social” objectives can lead to competitive advantages.
4. Moral Responsibility: social responsibility is ‘the right thing to do’, regardless of potential financial benefits.

Methodology
As part of a larger diachronic study that considers the discursive changes over time and the interdiscursive influences propelling such changes, this paper essentially lexico-grammatically analyses the assumptions and ‘deep structures’ underlying word and grammar selection . The corpus analysis also uses Leximancer to help identify themes and their relationships. The CDA approach is informed by (Chiapello & Fairclough, 2002; Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999, p. 75; Meyer, 2001), while attempting to redress the shortcomings identified by Widdowson (2000).

From this analysis, we will seek to identify the epistemic foundations by which the company “construes the social order without referring to the system it is construing” (Halliday & Martin, 1993, p. 113). Of particular interest are ways in which the company discursively represents notions of community, implicitly reinforcing modernist, nostalgic representations which deny plurality, conflict and complexity:
• Liberal and communitarian
• Modernist vs Postmodern
Subjects EX
350200 Business and Management
750406 Business ethics
Q-Index Code EX

 
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Created: Thu, 23 Aug 2007, 20:34:22 EST