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Cultural Cognition and Climate Change: Communicating climate science across potential divides in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Human civilization is failing in the fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limit the impact of anthropogenic climate change. Whilst there are likely numerous reasons for this inertia, societal risk perception plays a fundamental role in influencing the speed and effectiveness of political and social action to address climate change. This study presents the psychological, sociological and cultural reasons for variations in the perceptions of risk amongst a group of climate change sceptics in Sweden. Highlighting cognitive barriers and characteristics associated with different ideological biases and worldviews. The paper concludes that people become more or less sceptical to climate change based on a variety of potentially intersectional issues. Whilst gender, age and wisdom all play a role, the social groups with which people identify, as well as individuals’ values and ideas of what constitutes an ideal society ultimately shape ones perception of risk in relation to climate change. The implications for the communication of climate science are discussed, revealing that any inclusive communication strategy will fail unless it is presented in a way that affirms rather than challenges one’s cultural identity.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 37 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 250
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development; Climate Change; Scepticism; Cultural Cognition; Risk Perception, Ideological Predispositions
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-254959OAI: diva2:820440
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
Available from: 2015-06-12 Created: 2015-06-12 Last updated: 2015-06-12Bibliographically approved

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Bray, Jamieson
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