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När isomorfismen kom till stan: En kritisk diskursanalys av Helsingborgs stads hållbarhetskommunikation

Hellman, Martina LU and Andersson, Kajsa LU (2019) SKOK11 20191
Department of Strategic Communication
Abstract
The aim of this study is to increase the knowledge of how communicative standardisation between institutions upholds established notions about sustainable development in society. With a social constructionist approach, we analyse how sustainability discourses are constructed within the Agenda 2030, and if these discourses are reproduced in the sustainability communication of the city of Helsingborg. We examine how sustainability discourses are used by the city to legitimise their urban renewal project, and whether or not isomorphism is influencing that legitimisation. The empirical material of the study consists of documents on sustainability communication from both the UN and Helsingborg. These are complemented with articles from the... (More)
The aim of this study is to increase the knowledge of how communicative standardisation between institutions upholds established notions about sustainable development in society. With a social constructionist approach, we analyse how sustainability discourses are constructed within the Agenda 2030, and if these discourses are reproduced in the sustainability communication of the city of Helsingborg. We examine how sustainability discourses are used by the city to legitimise their urban renewal project, and whether or not isomorphism is influencing that legitimisation. The empirical material of the study consists of documents on sustainability communication from both the UN and Helsingborg. These are complemented with articles from the local newspaper which criticise the city. Through a content analysis, three sustainability discourses are identified: Social, economical and environmental.
Fairclough's three dimensional model for critical discourse analysis is implemented, and the empirical material is contextualised through neo-institutional theory, discourse analysis theory and the theory of aspirational talk. Results show that the vagueness of the UN Agenda 2030 leaves room for interpretation, which enables other organisations to copy the communication and thereby utilise the legitimacy of the UN for themselves. The study also shows that Helsingborg has cherry-picked aspects of the UN sustainability communication, and that both coercive and mimetic vertical isomorpism exists between the organisations. Furthermore, the analysis shows that the isomorphism in itself does not have to be regarded as a problem, but that the mindless mimetic communication between the organisations can be harmful. This is manifested through the way the legitimacy of the urban renewal project in Helsingborg is left exposed to the criticism of the local newspaper. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna studie ämnar öka kunskapen om hur kommunikativ likriktning mellan institutioner upprätthåller etablerade föreställningar om hållbar utveckling i samhället. Från ett socialkonstruktionistiskt perspektiv analyseras hur FN konstruerar diskurser kring hållbarhet i Agenda 2030 samt om dessa diskurser reproduceras i Helsingborgs stads hållbarhetskommunikation. Vidare undersöks hur hållbarhetsdiskurser används av staden för att legitimera sitt stadsförnyelseprojekt, och huruvida isomorfism påverkar legitimeringen. Studiens empiriska material består av nyckeltexter för hållbarhetskommunikation i FN och Helsingborgs stad, samt av tidningsartiklar från en kritisk granskning i Helsingborgs Dagblad. Genom en tematisering identifieras tre... (More)
Denna studie ämnar öka kunskapen om hur kommunikativ likriktning mellan institutioner upprätthåller etablerade föreställningar om hållbar utveckling i samhället. Från ett socialkonstruktionistiskt perspektiv analyseras hur FN konstruerar diskurser kring hållbarhet i Agenda 2030 samt om dessa diskurser reproduceras i Helsingborgs stads hållbarhetskommunikation. Vidare undersöks hur hållbarhetsdiskurser används av staden för att legitimera sitt stadsförnyelseprojekt, och huruvida isomorfism påverkar legitimeringen. Studiens empiriska material består av nyckeltexter för hållbarhetskommunikation i FN och Helsingborgs stad, samt av tidningsartiklar från en kritisk granskning i Helsingborgs Dagblad. Genom en tematisering identifieras tre huvudsakliga hållbarhetsdiskurser i materialet: Social, ekonomisk och miljömässig. Vidare används Faircloughs tredimensionella modell som utgångspunkt i en kritisk diskursanalys, i vilken empirin kontextualiseras utifrån relevanta teorier från samhällsvetenskapen och forskningsfältet strategisk kommunikation. Neoinstitutionell teori, diskursanalytisk teori och teorin om aspirerande kommunikation tillämpas. Resultatet visar att Agenda 2030:s vaghet skapar stort tolkningsutrymme, vilket möjliggör att kommunikationen kan kopieras av andra organisationer för att dessa ska anamma FN:s legitimitet. Studien visar att Helsingborgs stad har handplockat kommunikativa aspekter från FN:s agenda och att vertikal isomorfism, i form av tvingande och imiterande sådan, därigenom existerar mellan institutionerna. Vidare visar analysen att isomorfismen i sig själv inte behöver vara ett problem, utan att det är den tanklösa kommunikativa imitationen mellan organisationerna som kan vara skadlig. Detta tydliggörs i hur legitimeringen av Helsingborgs stads stadsförnyelseprojekt lämnas sårbar i lokal media. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Hellman, Martina LU and Andersson, Kajsa LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
When the isomorphism came to town: A critical discourse analysis on the sustainability communication of the city of Helsingborg
course
SKOK11 20191
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
strategisk kommunikation, neoinstitutionell teori, legitimitet, isomorfism, kritisk diskursanalys, aspirerande kommunikation, hållbarhet, strategic communication, neo-institutional theory, legitimacy, isomorphism, critical discourse analysis, aspirational talk, sustainability
language
Swedish
id
8975474
date added to LUP
2019-06-05 11:08:48
date last changed
2019-06-05 11:08:48
@misc{8975474,
  abstract     = {The aim of this study is to increase the knowledge of how communicative standardisation between institutions upholds established notions about sustainable development in society. With a social constructionist approach, we analyse how sustainability discourses are constructed within the Agenda 2030, and if these discourses are reproduced in the sustainability communication of the city of Helsingborg. We examine how sustainability discourses are used by the city to legitimise their urban renewal project, and whether or not isomorphism is influencing that legitimisation. The empirical material of the study consists of documents on sustainability communication from both the UN and Helsingborg. These are complemented with articles from the local newspaper which criticise the city. Through a content analysis, three sustainability discourses are identified: Social, economical and environmental. 
Fairclough's three dimensional model for critical discourse analysis is implemented, and the empirical material is contextualised through neo-institutional theory, discourse analysis theory and the theory of aspirational talk. Results show that the vagueness of the UN Agenda 2030 leaves room for interpretation, which enables other organisations to copy the communication and thereby utilise the legitimacy of the UN for themselves. The study also shows that Helsingborg has cherry-picked aspects of the UN sustainability communication, and that both coercive and mimetic vertical isomorpism exists between the organisations. Furthermore, the analysis shows that the isomorphism in itself does not have to be regarded as a problem, but that the mindless mimetic communication between the organisations can be harmful. This is manifested through the way the legitimacy of the urban renewal project in Helsingborg is left exposed to the criticism of the local newspaper.},
  author       = {Hellman, Martina and Andersson, Kajsa},
  keyword      = {strategisk kommunikation,neoinstitutionell teori,legitimitet,isomorfism,kritisk diskursanalys,aspirerande kommunikation,hållbarhet,strategic communication,neo-institutional theory,legitimacy,isomorphism,critical discourse analysis,aspirational talk,sustainability},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {När isomorfismen kom till stan: En kritisk diskursanalys av Helsingborgs stads hållbarhetskommunikation},
  year         = {2019},
}