Beyond the production of garments: A Critical Study of the Representation of Social Actors and Social Events in the information Disclosure of Four Apparel Companies

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This study arises from the need to analyze the discourse of corporations from a non-corporate point of view. As Koller (2010:155) has pointed out, the discipline of Critical Discourse Analysis has a tendency to overlook the discursive strategies of corporations. This failure to account for a critical perspective of corporate discourse implies a considerable necessity to undergo extensive research in this area, as it is this sphere where the most unequal power is amassed today. This work therefore intends to contribute to the underexplored academic viewpoint in corporate discourse, as it might be that the more independent corporate voices are to shape their communicative display, the greater the inequalities will be consolidated. For this reason, the role of Critical Discourse Studies in Organizational Studies can be considered to be still in the making. On this basis, this study aims to examine those communicative mechanisms that four corporations, namely Adidas, Eastman Exports, H&M and Inditex, employ to legitimize their responsible behavior as corporate citizens. The research is set out to determine, through an examination of the representation of social events and social actors, the extent to which power legitimation is endorsed and the responsibility of the organizations is diminished as a result of effective discursive mechanisms. It is important to address these strategies as powerful discourses may have further implications in the ways the receivers of text construct their viewpoints. By examining the way in which the above mentioned firms reply to external accusations on the harmful labor practices endured by employees in their supply chains, a qualitative research will be carried out.
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