ICT environmentalism and the sustainability game

Hunter Vaughan, Anne Pasek, Nicholas R. Silcox, Nicole Starosielski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past three decades, corporate branding has trended strongly towards environmental conscientiousness and green rhetoric, often heralded under the term “sustainability” - a broad and mutable rhetorical strategy that not only serves industry self-interest but is mobilized by civil society actors as well. This tension is especially apparent in the information communication technologies (ICT) sector. Employing Wittgenstein’s concept of the language-game, this article describes how sustainability has been deployed by tech companies, and how these efforts have also been contested - and strategically mobilized - by activist environmental nonprofits and critical scholars seeking to reform tech sector practices. Combining environmental communication, political economy, and discourse analysis, we investigate the conceptualization and communication of sustainability as a discourse within and against the sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-660
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Language and Politics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 9 2023


  • STS
  • environmental communication
  • environmental media studies
  • infrastructure studies
  • political ecology
  • sustainability studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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