From Talloires to Turin: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Declarations for Sustainability in Higher Education
2. The CDA Approach
- Intertextuality: The intertextuality of a text is the presence in it of aspects of other texts and, as a result, the presence of voices other than the authors. Thus, certain words, expressions and metaphors, which hold specific ideological meaning in other contexts, find their way into the particular text of concern. Divorced from their original context, these devices are argued to imbue the new text with meanings associated with the old .
- Modality: The modality of a sentence sets up the relationship between the author and the representation, in essence, what authors commit themselves to in terms of truth or necessity. Deontic modality is the modality of a statement concerned with necessity or obligation. Thus, employing words like “may” rather than “must” modalize a sentence in such a way as to place it between a categorical assertion and a denial, making the authors position either weak or ambiguous (, pp. 22). CDA is interested in identifying shifts in deontic modality.
- Nominalization: A type of grammatical metaphor that represents processes as entities by transforming clauses into a type of noun. For example, “industrial society degrades the environment” can be worded as “environmental degradation”, where the active agent is removed from the sentence. In text, this is argued to naturalize certain relationships, in this case, framing environmental degradation as a passive or inevitable process divorced from any historical agent [24,26].
- Structure and Framing: Structure here is understood to be how hypotactically related clauses imply a superordinate or subordinate relationship between statements and how the nature of these relationships can frame subsequent statements within a complex sentence (, pp. 92–94). Framing is similar to structure, but concerns how a statement or group of statements is placed in a superordinate position in a text, where it is content can be used to infuse subsequent statements with a particular meaning. (This is of particular interest in the SHE declarations, where superordinate and subordinate relationships between statements advanced in the preamble help to frame all the recommendations that follow) [20,24].
|1990||The Talloires Declaration (ULSF, 1990)|
|1991||The Halifax Declaration (See Lester Pearson institute for international development, 1992)|
|1993||The Kyoto Declarations (UNESCO, 1993)|
|1993||The Swansea Declaration (UNESCO, 1993)|
|1994||The CRE Copernicus Charter (CRE-Copernicus, 1994)|
|1997||Thessaloniki Declaration (UNESCO, 1997)|
|2001||Luneburg Declaration (UNESCO, 2001)|
|2005||The Graz Declaration (Oikos, Copernicus, TUG, 2005)|
|2009||The Bonn Declaration (UNESCO, 2009)|
|2009||The Turin Declaration (G8, 2009)|
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Construction and Reproduction of the University
Universities have a major role in the education, research, policy formation and information exchange necessary to make these goals possible. Thus, university leaders must initiate and support mobilization of internal and external resources so that their institutions respond to this urgent challenge .
…the Presidents attending the 2009 University Summit acknowledge the important role that education and research play in informing, promoting and implementing sustainable and responsible development .
It is consequently their duty to propagate environmental literacy and to promote the practice of environmental ethics in society… .
“The reorientation of education as a whole called for in chapter 36 of Agenda 21 must involve not only the education community, but also governments and financial institutions and all other actors .”
“It (higher education) has a special responsibility to conduct the scholarship and scientific research necessary to generate the new knowledge needed and train the leaders and teachers of tomorrow, as well as communicate this knowledge to decision makers and the public at large .”
“The ultimate goal of education for sustainable development is to impart the knowledge, values, attitudes and skills needed to empower people to bring about the changes required to achieve sustainability .”
“Higher education has a catalyst role vis-à-vis education for sustainable development and the building of a Learning Society .”
“Sustainability cannot be achieved by merely engaging natural sciences, but must also engage life sciences, social sciences and humanities .”
“All students should be exposed to the issues connected with sustainable development and encouraged to be involved in the creation of a sustainable and responsible society in the spirit of global citizenship .”
4.2. Construction and Reproduction Sustainability and Sustainability Issues
We, the presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors of universities from all regions of the world are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation and the depletion of natural resources.Local, regional, and global air and water pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests… 
Man’s exploitation of the biosphere is now threatening its very existence and balance .
Despite unprecedented economic growth in the 20th century, persistent poverty and inequality still affect too many people .
Unsustainable production and consumption patterns are creating ecological impacts… .
as well as in the Bonn Declaration:[…] rapid and radical change of behaviours and lifestyles, including changing consumption and production patterns. For this, appropriate education and public awareness should be recognized as one of the pillars of sustainability together with legislation, economy and technology 
We have the knowledge, technology and skills available to turn the situation around .
Conflict of Interest
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Sylvestre, P.; McNeil, R.; Wright, T. From Talloires to Turin: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Declarations for Sustainability in Higher Education. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1356-1371. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5041356
Sylvestre P, McNeil R, Wright T. From Talloires to Turin: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Declarations for Sustainability in Higher Education. Sustainability. 2013; 5(4):1356-1371. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5041356Chicago/Turabian Style
Sylvestre, Paul, Rebecca McNeil, and Tarah Wright. 2013. "From Talloires to Turin: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Declarations for Sustainability in Higher Education" Sustainability 5, no. 4: 1356-1371. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5041356