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Post-political Numbness of a Digital Society: The Political Condition of Environmental Activism on Twitter
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Media and Communication Studies.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Over the past decades, a widespread consensus has emerged regarding the anthropogenic causes and negative impacts of climate change. For instance, the environmental pollution reaches alarming dimensions on a global level implying immanent dangers to the future of humankind and nature. The need to take action in order to maintain the integrity of human and environmental systems has long been recognised by most political elites, business leaders, activists and the scientific community. Yet, it seems that political and economic institutions do not move on fast enough from words to actions. At the same time, a depoliticisation of the public sphere is observed repressing a radical critical discourse. Several political theorists and philosophers debate about the emergence of a post-political and postdemocratic condition, implying a state of politics of consensus.

The thesis at hand aimed to investigate the post-political condition of climate change activism in the online realm by means of the case of a rather recent trend of environmental activism, the zero waste movement. A quantitative content analysis was conducted studying 500 #zerowaste tweets that were posted in April 2018. The content characteristics of the Twitter postings were analysed and a coding system developed to measure the post-political condition of communication practices in the environmental pollution debate on Twitter. 

The study finds that in particular civic actors (citizen and public personalities), commercial and nonprofit organisations engaged in the zero waste debate distributing informative content mobilising the public to make certain lifestyle decisions. It is furthermore revealed that the #zerowaste debate on Twitter is evidently depoliticised. The communication practices on the social media platform incorporated in many ways discursive strategies such as universalisation and externalisation resulting in a rationalised and moralised representation of the problem of environmental pollution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 49
Keywords [en]
post-politics, depoliticisation, climate change, zero waste movement, environmental activism, social media, Twitter, quantitative content analysis
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-40880ISRN: JU-HLK-MKA-2-20180197OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-40880DiVA, id: diva2:1228690
Subject / course
HLK, Media and Communication Studies
Available from: 2018-07-04 Created: 2018-06-28 Last updated: 2018-07-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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