Making Sense of Climate Change Risks and Responses at the Community Level: A Cultural-Political Lens (2014)

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How to better assess, communicate and respond to risks from climate change at the community level have emerged as key questions within climate risk management. Recent research to address these questions centres largely on psychological factors, exploring how cognition and emotion lead to biases in risk assessment. Yet, making sense of climate change and its responses at the community level demands attention to the cultural and political processes that shape how risk is conceived, prioritized and managed. I review the emergent literature on risk perceptions and responses to climate change using a cultural-political lens. This lens highlights how knowledge, meaning and power are produced and negotiated across multiple stakeholders at the community level. It draws attention to the different ways of constructing climate change risks and suggests an array of responses at the community level. It further illustrates how different constructions of risk intersect with agency and power to shape the capacity for response and collective action. What matters are whose constructions of risk, and whose responses, count in decision-making. I argue for greater engagement with the interpretive social sciences in research, practice and policy. The interpretive social sciences offer theories and tools for capturing and problematising the ways of knowing, sense-making and mobilising around risks from climate change. I also highlight the importance of participatory approaches in incorporating the multiplicity of interests at the community level into climate risk management in fair, transparent and culturally appropriate ways.
Year: 2014
Language: English
In: Climate Risk Management, 3 (0): 55-64 p.

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Note: Open access article

 

 Record created 2014-11-04, last modified 2014-11-04