Themes of climate change agency: a qualitative study on how people construct agency in relation to climate change

Heidi Toivonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study analyzes how people discursively construct their (non)agency—how they display abilities and capacities to act, or the lack thereof—vis-à-vis climate change. The paper presents the results of a detailed discursive and thematic analysis of 28 interview transcripts: 12 broad agency themes representing different ways of constructing human (non)agency in relation to climate change. The most common agency theme was Collective, followed by Individual, Critical, and Threatened agency. Climate change skepticism was displayed mostly within Critical agency, where the speakers presented themselves as intellectual and critically thinking individuals, drawing from scientific rhetoric while criticizing and misrepresenting climate science. The constructions of Collective agency emerged as a form of agency that displays a sense of meaningfulness related to socially embedded actions. The construction of agency in relation to climate change is very detailed discursive work, as people draw from multiple societal discourses to craft varied discursive positions of experiencing, knowing, and doing in relation to it. The paper suggests ways for climate communications to take into account these multiple themes of agency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
Early online date29 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Agency
  • Climate change
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Climate change agency

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Themes of climate change agency: a qualitative study on how people construct agency in relation to climate change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this