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DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2023-9-3-0-5

Contesting “growth” and “sustainability” in Indonesia’s capital city relocation: a corpus ecolinguistic study

The global environmental crisis has triggered academic discussions on how infrastructure discourse often eliminates the environment as a part of the ecosystem. One noticeable contested issue is Indonesia’s capital city relocation from Jakarta to Penajam Paser Utara, Borneo Island. Considering the island’s biodiversity hotspot, the capital city relocation has invited debates about environmental impacts. Despite the criticism and scepticism of the government’s ambitious project, the Indonesian House of Representatives passed the relocation law, followed by the president’s capital city development regulations. Some research has discussed the new capital city (NCC)discourse, but the analysis from a corpus ecolinguistic perspective is absent. It is hypothesised that the lexemes “growth” and “sustainability” in the NCC legal documents represent the government’s intention to communicate the relocation intention and legitimise the plan. Therefore, this paper investigates the employment of lexemes “growth” and “sustainability” in the NCC legal documents using Sketch Engine, an online corpus tool developed by Adam Kilgarriff. Additionally, we also observed the nominalisation and transitivity of the concordances where the lexemes were used in the documents. The analysis revealed that “growth” and “sustainability” are inextricably linked to project NCC as a tool to accelerate and catalyse regional and national economic growth. Ecologically, the NCC documents promote an eco-ambivalent discourse since the sustainability objective excludes the environment. Instead, industrial sustainability is the primary goal in the capital city relocation. The country’s welfare measured by its economic success is salient in the discourse, whereas humans’ responsibility towards the deforestation impacts of relocation is lacking.

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