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Challenging dominant discourses of climate change

Abstract

The influence of language on communication about climate change is well recognised, but this understanding is under-utilised by those seeking to increase uptake of action for climate change. We discuss the terms, discourse, resistance, and agency, to assist in developing ways to progress social action for climate change. Using a review of academic literature about climate change, we explore three of the many dominant discourses that constrain action: the logical action discourse; the complexity discourse; and the culture of consumption discourse. While there are more discourses about climate change, especially in the popular literature, the ways these three operate in the peri-scientific sphere is under-recognised. We suggest that by examining the different framings of climate change, there is potential to create novel discourses and to start new processes of societal response. This paper challenges the dominant scientific framing of climate change and seeks to begin the process of creating change through changing discourses.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    ‘Sceptic’ is meant as a neutral term here in its original understanding as a person inclined to question. Although sceptics are generally caricatured negatively by climate science, we point out that the sociology of climate scepticism is quite complex and sophisticated, see Lahsen (2013).

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Correspondence to Frank Vanclay.

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Fleming, A., Vanclay, F., Hiller, C. et al. Challenging dominant discourses of climate change. Climatic Change 127, 407–418 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1268-z

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Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Innovation Model
  • Subject Position
  • Climate Science
  • Dominant Discourse