Just Another PR Tactic?: Discourse, Expertise, and Social License in the “License to Farm” Campaign

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Beaulieu, Megan




Social license is the need for, and attempt to, garner and maintain public approval of industry/corporate practices. The License to Farm campaign responds to the public pushback regarding industrial farm practices, and claims to educate the public on Canadian farming. in I analyze the campaign to reveal the discursive reproduction of power in the campaign materials. I seek to answer: How are representations of expertise employed to legitimize industrial farming as the dominant agricultural practice? The project relies on the science and technology studies framework and draws on critiques of industrial farming. I employ a mixed methodology including critical discourse analysis and Actor Network Theory. The project uncovers how the License to Farm campaign is less about educating the public and more of a public relations tactic (an iteration of the social license approach) used to negatively portray the critical consumer, and positively the proponents of industrial farming.


Mass Communications




Carleton University

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