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Communicating the Inevitable: Climate Awareness, Climate Discord, and Climate Research in Peru’s Highland Communities

Journal article
Authors Karsten Paerregaard
Published in Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture
ISSN 1752-4032
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies, Social Anthropology
Language en
Keywords Climate change, communication, climate perceptions, Peruvian Andes, anthropology
Subject categories Social Anthropology


The paper discusses how anthropology contributes to climate change research and communication. Building on theoretical works that highlight the cultural framing of communication it investigates the signs and symbols that a Peruvian highland community creates and the imaginaries and identities it generates to interpret and communicate climate change and its environmental impact. To explore the community’s communicative repertoire the paper explores three climate voices that illuminate the conflicting ways the global discourse on climate change impacts the community’s future visions. Arguing that anthropogenic climate change poses a new challenge to the communication of urgent public issues the paper asks: Should the communication discuss climate change as a matter-of-fact issue? Or should it present climate change as a cultural phenomenon that is acknowledged as an issue in dispute? The paper concludes that climate change research is a post-normal science that not only must engage a range of scholarly traditions and methods but also listen to the voices that are affected by climate change in the real world. It encourages climate change communicators to recognize that climate communication is a dialogical relation based on the mutual interests of its experts and its users in providing as well as receiving knowledge.

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