Quentin Wight

Thesis Title:

The Amazonian Bioeconomy? A storyline shaping deforestation and governance in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.


This project explores the ‘bioeconomy’ discourse in Brazil and its role in shaping governance in Brazil’s Amazon Forest. Taking a Strategic Communications perspective, it examines actors and interests in this field, the use of language to achieve behavioural and attitudinal outcomes, and the dynamics in which ideas and discourse come to dominate a policy field and shape social and physical realities for years to come. The research is based off fieldwork in Brazil, drawing on qualitative methods of discourse analysis, interviews and observation.

The project looks at how narratives and frames bound within the broader bioeconomy discourse play an emerging role in legitimizing actors and practices and harmonizing actor interests in pursuit of collective action on deforestation.

It sees discourse coalitions as important forces for large-scale collective action. This idea is a coalition-based theory of change where a diverse array of actors are united and empowered through shared stories. In the Brazil context, a bioeconomy discourse coalition has emerged that sees actors ranging from government, NGOs, IGOs, media, industry, and civil society groups employing and promoting the bioeconomy in the Amazon governance arena. This helps explain the rapid rise of the discourse in Amazon governance in Brazil, and its political power.

The project proposes that bioeconomy narratives and frames, with their coordinative and collaborative governance implications, have successfully legitimized and promoted various zero-deforestation practices (e.g., agroforestry). However, at the same time, due its co-option by corporate agribusiness, the bioeconomy discourse also appears to be preserving social inequalities and reinforcing skewed power structures benefiting corporate industry in Brazil.

Social Media:


First Supervisor:

Dr Neville Bolt


Pathway 7: Linguistics, Media & Culture




How Emergency Framing Affects The United Kingdom’s Climate Governance https://stratcomcoe.org/publications/how-emergency-framing-affects-the-united-kingdoms-climate-governance/15