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Communicating climate action: Combining action repertoires and linguistic repertoires in social movement message construction
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0860-9841
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The climate crisis is one of the largest global challenges that humanity has ever faced. Despite the scientific consensus on the threat, action is not occurring on the pace or level needed to stave off the consequences. As climate change is made up by complex and conjoined causes and effects, the issue is also riddled with communicative challenges which those calling for action need to tackle. Climate change communication research has, however, mainly focus on how traditional news media frame the climate change issue and overlooks climate activist and movement groups. This despite these actors being key for shifting public perceptions and public opinion. Although research on other communication actors exist, it is far from extensive and the research field overlooks the publics perceptions of the sender in relation to the construction of climate messages. Through survey data and an experiment, this doctoral thesis explores the public’s inclination towards different protest action repertoires and addresses the research gap in the climate movement message construction. Herein, the actions and words of three subgroups within the larger environmental movement is considered as one part of a larger message whole. The groups chosen action repertoires are viewed as part of the activists’ performed message and the linguistic communication styles created by lexical choices related to emotional appeals are part of the activists’ verbal/textual message. The results indicate that there is much to be gained from adhering to an alignment between lexical choices and action repertoires. Alignment may be key for understanding why some movement subgroups are successful in inspiring certain actions whilst others inspire other actions. Communication-action alignment is a way to approach the interconnectedness of actions and words for complex and abstract issues that require message recipients to construct consonant mental models to break potential cognitive dissonance.

Abstract [en]

There is a common saying that actions speak louder than words, that what a person does is more telling than what they are saying. But it is also frequently pointed out that the pen is mightier than the sword. So, when to use the pen? And when to use the sword? 

This doctoral compilation thesis investigates the interconnectedness of words and actions in relation to social movement messages and climate change communication; what the pen and the sword can create if aligned. Together words and actions are part of a larger message whole. To explain this, the thesis introduces the theoretical concept of the Communicative Action Repertoire (CAR). Communications and actions that align with each other are seen by members of the public as coming from a more trustworthy and more knowledgeable source. In general, communication aligned with a conventional CAR will inspire communicative action on the part of recipients inclined to take action, while communication aligned with a disruptive CAR will inspire direct action. Thus, where message recipients must construct a cohesive mental model of an abstract and complex issue, like the climate crisis, CAR alignment provides a map for practitioners and scholars alike to analyse and structure cohesive messages that minimise potential cognitive dissonance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2022.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2022:18
Keywords [en]
climate change communication, social movements, communicative action repertoire alignment, emotional appeals, threat perception
National Category
Communication Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-89625ISBN: 978-91-7867-291-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7867-302-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-89625DiVA, id: diva2:1654189
Public defence
2022-06-17, Geijersalen, 12A138, Karlstads Universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-05-25 Created: 2022-04-26 Last updated: 2024-02-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Mapping the Field of Climate Change Communication 1993-2018: Geographically Biased, Theoretically Narrow, and Methodologically Limited
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping the Field of Climate Change Communication 1993-2018: Geographically Biased, Theoretically Narrow, and Methodologically Limited
2021 (English)In: Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, ISSN 1752-4032, E-ISSN 1752-4040, Vol. 15, no 4, p. 431-446Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change communication spans multiple disciplines which in many cases have insufficient understanding of each other's research traditions and, therefore, there has not been a solid interdisciplinary debate. This makes it hard not only to survey the field at large but also to pinpoint further studies which are needed to bridge these knowledge divides. The aim of this systematic literature review is to shed a broader light on the field of environmental and climate change communication and to make possible research gaps more apparent. Through an extensive quantitative content analysis of journal articles (N= 407), this study provides an understanding of the methodological, theoretical, and geographical approaches within the field. The findings show that a typical study within the field is a quantitative content analysis of traditional news media in the West. We have also uncovered some important insufficiencies of the search engines commonly used when carrying out literature reviews.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2021
Keywords
Climate change, environmental communication, literature review, search engines
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-83851 (URN)10.1080/17524032.2021.1902363 (DOI)000637231300001 ()2-s2.0-85103912897 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-04-30 Created: 2021-04-30 Last updated: 2024-02-23Bibliographically approved
2. Conventional and Disruptive Protest Propensity: A Comparative Survey Study Across Europe
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conventional and Disruptive Protest Propensity: A Comparative Survey Study Across Europe
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Communication Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-98664 (URN)
Available from: 2024-02-23 Created: 2024-02-23 Last updated: 2024-02-23Bibliographically approved
3. Communicating the Expected: The Importance of Aligning Messages and Actions of Environmental Social Movement Subgroups Climate Change Communication
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Communicating the Expected: The Importance of Aligning Messages and Actions of Environmental Social Movement Subgroups Climate Change Communication
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97047 (URN)
Conference
International Communication Association, Paris, France, May 26-30
Available from: 2023-10-13 Created: 2023-10-13 Last updated: 2024-02-23Bibliographically approved
4. Communicative Action Repertoire Alignment (CARA): A theoretical model and methodological approach for evaluation of lexical-action alignment in social movements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Communicative Action Repertoire Alignment (CARA): A theoretical model and methodological approach for evaluation of lexical-action alignment in social movements
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Communication Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-98665 (URN)
Available from: 2024-02-23 Created: 2024-02-23 Last updated: 2024-02-23Bibliographically approved

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Forskningspodden med Sol Agin(39696 kB)115 downloads
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