A Critical Theoretical Exploration of Municipal Marketing of Sustainability

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Public Policy and Public Marketing

Publication Date



This research illustrates how local governments are using the idea of sustainability as a public relations and marketing tactic, slowly unmooring the policy concept from its signifier. Sustainability, then, is turned from a concrete phenomenon into a postmodern language game and image creator for the local government entity. Works from Wittgenstein, Baudrillard and Foucault are used to highlight this occurrence. Sustainability is a language game that turns sustainability into an image-laden commodity that when sold creates docile bodies. This is not to say that no concrete results come from a move toward a sustainable organization; rather the build up, programs and results will be packaged as an image worth selling. This research showcases how cities throughout the United States, chosen based on purposive sampling, are or are not utilizing sustainability as a marketing and PR tactic.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License

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