More information is not the problem : spinning climate change, vernaculars, and emergent forms of life
Author(s)Callison, Candis L
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society.
Michael M. J. Fischer.
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This dissertation argues that alongside the dominant discourse occurring in and through media in the midst of immense transformation, social networks and affiliations provide a vital translation of science in varied vernaculars such that climate change is becoming invested with diverse meanings, ethics, and/or morality. Based on ethnographic research, this dissertation analyzes such processes of translation and articulation occurring among five different discursive communities actively enunciating the fact and meaning of climate change through their own vernaculars. The five groups are: 1) Arctic indigenous representatives that are part of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, 2) corporate social responsibility activists working with Ceres 3) American evangelical Christians active in the nascent movement known as Creation Care, 4) leading science journalists, and 5) scientists who often act as science-policy experts. This dissertation tracks the formation by which evidence comes to matter and have meaning for groups, and the ways in which this process transforms the definition of and questions posed by climate change. It posits that climate change constitutes an emergent form of life replete with multiple, competing instantiations that feed into, configure, and continually revise definitions of and models of/for climate change. Such articulations and attempts at defining climate change are full of friction as epistemologies, forms of life, advocacy, and expertise evolve and bump up against one another in a process of socialization, negotiation, and meaning-making. In this framework, climate change is a simultaneous intellectual, scientific, and moral challenge - it is both a problem of assessing what is happening, what might happen, and how to act in the world. The presentation and circulation of information provide only partial answers. Partnering facts with multiple codes for meaning, ethics, and morality delineate what the stakes and risks entail, articulating rationales to act. These diverse partnerships produce attendant translations, assemblages, modes of speech, and material forms of training and disciplining that enroll scientific findings and policy aspirations.
Thesis (Ph. D. in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS))--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Science, Technology and Society, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 312-340).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Science, Technology and Society.