Norwegian petroleum extraction in Arctic waters to save the environment: introducing ‘discourse co-optation’ as a new analytical term

Critical Discourse Studies, Vol 9, No 1, 2012, pp. 29-38.

In this article, the term discourse co-optation is introduced based on a socially oriented discourse analysis of the Norwegian petroleum debate concerning petroleum extraction in the Barents Sea. The introduction of the term is based on empirical findings from two different studies of public discourse through four Norwegian newspapers published between 2000 and 2006. Discourse co-optation describes how one discourse ‘burrows into the heart’ of a counter-discourse, turns its logic upside down and it is put to work to re-establish hegemony and re-gain political support. One discourse is strengthened by the addition of a new, powerful argument; the other is weakened almost to the same degree.