Emerging critique of Norwegian oil : a discourse analysis of letters to the editor in three national newspapers in 2013
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The oil industry has been immensely valuable to Norway in regards to employment and economy. However, with climate change, economic vulnerability and the increase in sustainable alternatives to oil in mind, there is now an opportunity to move away from oil. Previous oil-discourses that the oil industry and pro-oil politicians promote can be considered as slowing down this change. This master’s thesis aim is to discover emerging discourses that are critical to the Norwegian oil industry and discourses that are counter to the positive oildiscourses. Discovering such discourses can enlighten Norwegians about the flaws of the oil industry and give reasons to move away from oil. Letters to the editor published in three national newspapers, Aftenposten, Dagens Næringsliv and Verdens Gang, were examined throughout the year 2013. In these newspapers emerging discourses were discovered through a critical discourse analysis. With the thesis objective Understand and identify discourses critical to the oil industry produced by the Norwegian people in Norwegian media during 2013 seven emerging discourses were discovered: Division of the Norwegian economy, Pro-oil politics, A happy ending to the oil adventure, Oil is bad for the environment, Listen to the global community, Turning a blind eye (Climate sinners with a good conscience) and Spewing oil onto global markets. Some of these discourses are fairly new and others are based on thoughts that have been circulating for a while. This thesis also discovers that the authors of these discourses and their supporting narratives are powerful individuals, such as businesspersons, scientists and politicians, with the credibility it takes to form emerging discourses. The conclusion of this master’s thesis is that there are in fact emerging discourses critical to the oil industry on the rise and that there is a chance for them to be adapted by the Norwegian society.