Pour un environnement propre. Genre, politesse et argumentation dans la communication verte des hôtels.

  • Finn Frandsen Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales d'Aarhus
  • Winni Johansen Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales d'Aarhus


The purpose of this article is to show how the ongoing 'greening' of western societies has produced new types of communication, including new text genres and a new rhetoric. After a short contrastive presentation of the political green discourse of political parties and environmental movements and the commercial green discourse of companies, a longer section is devoted to the description of the green communication of Scandinavian hotels and the text corpus we have established in order to analyse this new type of communication. We examine one of the new genres produced by the hotels, the so-called green cards inviting the hotel guests to protect nature by using the hand towels more than once. The analysis is based on genre analysis (Swales 1990, Bhatia 1993), Goffman's theory of 'territories' and a revised version of the theory of linguistic politeness elaborated by Brown & Levinson (1978) and Kerbrat-Orecchioni (1991 and 1996). A total of 17 different green cards is analysed with reference to discourse community, communicative purpose, move structure and rhetorical strategies. Particular attention is devoted to analysis of rhetorical strategies as they materialise in politeness and argumentation strategies used by the hotels to prevent their guests from conceiving the new green communication as a face-threatening act not justifying the traditional expectations of a hotel stay.