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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 16, 2022

“Together we can all make little steps towards a better world”: interdiscursive construction of ecologically engaged voices in YouTube vlogs

  • Małgorzata Sokół ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Text & Talk


Drawing on the resources of Ecolinguistics and Positive Discourse Analysis, this paper investigates the interdiscursive practices that lifestyle vloggers engage in to construct their expertise and credibility when performing eco-activism. The analysis of the corpus of 30 YouTube vlogs promoting a sustainable lifestyle reveals the interplay of cross-generic conventions that young adult YouTubers employ to manage their lay expertise. Their mediated activist talk mixes basic text types of narration, argumentation, exposition and instruction with self-disclosure, technical and colloquial talk as well as social and promotional discourses. In this way, the vloggers exploit the affordances of the medium to construct the new stories of consumerism and everyday, ‘ordinary’ eco-activism based on private, green lifestyle choices. The vloggers’ interdiscursive talk and the presence of credibility strategies in the data may have an empowering effect on the audience. For one thing, the vloggers position their audience as actors who are capable of making effective choices on their way to a sustainable life. For another, empowerment is accomplished through the transformation of the vloggers’ private experience into public discourse that members of the audience can find relevant and meaningful. Overall, the study points to the potential of interdiscursive practices in the vlog as a ‘positive’ linguistic resource that can encourage people to protect our ecosystems.

Corresponding author: Małgorzata Sokół, Institute of Linguistics, University of Szczecin, al. Piastów 40B, 71-065 Szczecin, Poland, E-mail:


I would like to thank all vloggers for consent to use their channels in the research.

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Appendix 2

Transcription conventions (adapted from Hutchby and Wooffitt 1998: vi–vii):

. Stopping fall in tone
, A non-final, continuing intonation
A pause
: The prolonging of the previous sound
! An exclamation
? A rising intonation
ALWAYS Capitals for emphasis or louder talk
<KonMari> Words spoken more slowly than the surrounding talk
( ) The presence of the unclear fragment
[…] Omitted material
“ ” Inner dialogue


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Received: 2020-05-18
Accepted: 2022-01-31
Published Online: 2022-02-16
Published in Print: 2022-07-26

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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