How the public engages in climate change: A social representations approach

Smith, N. and Joffe, H. 2013. How the public engages in climate change: A social representations approach. Public Understanding of Science. 22 (1), pp. 16-32. doi:10.1177/0963662512440913

TitleHow the public engages in climate change: A social representations approach
AuthorsSmith, N. and Joffe, H.
Abstract

The present study utilises social representations theory to explore common sense conceptualisations of global warming risk using an in-depth, qualitative methodology. Fifty-six members of a British, London-based 2008 public were initially asked to draw or write four spontaneous "first thoughts or feelings" about global warming. These were then explored via an open-ended, exploratory interview. The analysis revealed that first thoughts, either drawn or written, often mirrored the images used by the British press to depict global warming visually. Thus in terms of media framings, it was their visual rather than their textual content that was spontaneously available for their audiences. Furthermore, an in-depth exploration of interview data revealed that global warming was structured around three themata: self/other, natural/unnatural and certainty/uncertainty, reflecting the complex and often contradictory nature of common sense thinking in relation to risk issues.

JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Journal citation22 (1), pp. 16-32
ISSN0963-6625
Year2013
PublisherSage
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/0963662512440913
Publication dates
PublishedJan 2013

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