Climate change discourses: how UK airlines communicate their case to the public
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractWhilst there are many arguments and counterarguments surrounding aviation's contribution to climate change, the sector is increasingly scrutinised, especially in regard to tourism mobility questions. This paper identifies, examines and analyses the discourses that airlines choose to communicate via their websites regarding their role, responsibility and their viewpoints about the issues involved in their relationship to climate change. Studying the web is of growing importance: corporate organizations increasingly use the Internet to communicate influential discourses, engage consumers, and inform the media, who themselves use digital systems to form opinions and influence decisions. Drawing on publicly available communications from six contrasting UK airlines, the study seeks to identify their perceived roles and responsibilities as producers. The data are analysed through content and frame analyses. The study concludes, inter alia, that the airlines under study make both justifiable and unjustifiable claims, and use polarised prioritisation, scepticism and uncertainty creation to put forward their case. Airlines are classified into one of six types: (1) continuous committed benchmarkers, (2) realistic technological innovators, (3) minimal practicalities, (4) low-cost innovators, (5) low-cost sceptics and (6) low-cost opposers. The paper uses and adds to an emerging research method, netnography. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
CitationBurns P, Cowlishaw C (2014) 'Climate change discourses: how UK airlines communicate their case to the public', Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22 (5), pp.750-767.
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism