Legitimation in Corporate Discourse: The Case of Enbridge and the Northern Gateway Pipeline

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Massie, Alicia




This thesis is a qualitative critical discourse and multimodal analysis of Enbridge’s “Gateway Facts” website – an online discourse created to offer information regarding their Northern Gateway Pipeline project proposed in western Canada. A controversial project, Enbridge, like other oil corporations, has been forced to devote significant time and energy to justify and promote this pipeline. The website’s discursive strategies reveal four discursive themes used to legitimate the NGP: economic development, scientific and technical expertise, environmental stewardship, and industry leadership. This type of corporate legitimation may be a reflection of the broader ideology of late capitalism’s struggle to justify controversial practices at a time when environmental protection is a priority and public attitudes and understandings of corporate responsibility are shifting. This thesis underscores the importance of critical studies of corporate discourse, especially that offered online, as it has the potential to highlight the ideological underpinnings of corporations and their actions.


Mass Communications
Environmental Sciences




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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