The rhetoric of climate change: Using Latour to compose a nonmodern approach to our modern climate crisis
Lundgren, Zachary B
Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity in the 21st century. Scientists from a variety of specialized fields, from biology and chemistry, to climatology and geology, are currently conducting research to understand and respond to the wide range of complex, global effects that are likely to occur as we pump more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the planet's surface temperature continues to rise. Despite efforts by the global scientific community, there is still a crucial element missing to fully understand this phenomenon known as climate change. Scholars and researchers outside of the "hard" sciences ask us to dispute this notion that climate change should be left to the scientists because, in addition to the physical effects, "climate change is an idea as well as an empirical reality" (Fiskio, p. 1). Many argue that climate change, and all scientific topics and inquiry, belong partially to the realm of the social and the rhetorical--shaped by language and understanding. Because scientific and technical lenses have only been able to achieve a partial view of climate change, and because climate change manifests important characteristics more suited to a sociomaterial perspective, rhetorical analysis has become an important tool to bring to bear upon climate change. Of particular note, the work of sociologist Bruno Latour is useful in exploring the sociomaterial nature of such complex, global phenomena as climate change, and in articulating new methods of problem solving. Using Latour's concepts of hybrid phenomena, the agency of nonhuman actants, matters of fact and concern, and the analytical framework provided by Actor-Network Theory (ANT), this dissertation questions some of the foundational assumptions of our current technical, public, and political responses to climate change, all of which, Latour argues, stem from the Modernist divide between the social and the natural. This dissertation illustrates how a rhetorical understanding of climate change provides a more complete toolset for grappling with this truly global issue, for life in our new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene, and for considering how the ways we communicate and think about climate change are as important as the "brute facts" of science (Gross, 1996).
Lundgren, Zachary B. (July 2019). The rhetoric of climate change: Using Latour to compose a nonmodern approach to our modern climate crisis (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7418.)
Lundgren, Zachary B. The rhetoric of climate change: Using Latour to compose a nonmodern approach to our modern climate crisis. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, July 2019. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7418. September 30, 2020.
Lundgren, Zachary B, “The rhetoric of climate change: Using Latour to compose a nonmodern approach to our modern climate crisis” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, July 2019).
Lundgren, Zachary B. The rhetoric of climate change: Using Latour to compose a nonmodern approach to our modern climate crisis [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; July 2019.
East Carolina University