chapter  3
16 Pages

Critical discourse analysis of climate change narratives

This chapter examines how language is used to define the type of problem climate change is, and looks at how those definitions are sustained. The critical discourse analysis(CDA) is a systematic approach to examine the relationships between discourses that is needed in order to reveal the power relations embedded within them. CDA recognizes that discourses are systems of knowledge which inform the technologies that consolidate power in modern society. Climate science becomes circulated through various institutions and interests groups, meaning that what is required is an 'ecology of knowledge'. The mass media identifies the most important institutional setting for shaping public attitudes to climate change. Elite policy cues are a key determinant of public concern about climate change with political actors playing by most powerful and effective role in shaping perceptions of climate change. Downstream from media activity, information interacts dynamically with psychological, social, cultural and institutional factors, resulting in amplification or attenuation of individual and social perceptions of risks.