Conceptualisation of Sustainability

A Theoretical and Methodological Framework for Understanding Metaphors and Narratives of Sustainability

  • Franzisca Weder University of Queensland
  • Nikola Dobrić University of Klagenfurt


Metaphors are language phenomena commonly used as tools of persuasion, as evident in different kinds of public discourses, most notably in political addresses. They are particularly potent in this respect because they function on the principle of connecting the logical with the emotional. This persuasive role has also been attested in media reports, usually employed for the purposes of framing and the creation of a specific narrative. The purpose of this paper is to outline a theoretical and methodological account of metaphor choices related to sustainability and restoration, as issues related to climate change, made by the contemporary media and the perceptions formed by repetition and reinforcements of certain kinds of imagery present in their choice. An additional purpose is to understand which information sources, and possible instances of influence and leverage, could be of importance in terms of the media reporting on sustainability-related issues. Therefore, the paper offers novel conceptual and analytical guidelines for future research in the field of sustainability communication.

Language and Linguistics: Results