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dc.contributor.advisorChambers, Charlotte
dc.contributor.advisorFreeman, Claire
dc.contributor.authorLehmköster, Martin Erhard
dc.date.available2012-04-26T20:51:13Z
dc.date.copyright2012
dc.identifier.citationLehmköster, M. E. (2012). Understanding Climate Change - The Case of the Waitati Transition Town (Thesis, Master of Arts). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/2248en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/2248
dc.description.abstractThis research presents an exploration of different ways of understanding the issue of climate change. The theoretical and methodological vehicle for doing so is a discourse approach based on a postmodern view of knowledge production. In particular the research examines the scientific and political construction of climate change as a problem pertaining to the universal thermodynamic properties of greenhouse gases. I argue that this has resulted in an authoritative and exclusive science-policy domain that surrounds climate change and also the proposed responses to the issue. This is problematic in both philosophical and political ways. The science-policy approach is based on the belief that scientific knowledge is objective and can be translated into policies in a linear fashion. I unmask this claim as to be problematic because it neglects the cultural and political contingency of knowledge. By means of a discourse analysis I show that the science-policy alliance is culturally rooted in a parent discourse based on industrialist-capitalist core values. The science-policy approach uses the reductionist formulation of climate change as pertaining exclusively to greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions in political ways. It works effectively towards defending industrialist-capitalist values by focussing on the energy sector alone. In this way, promoting green technologies by the aid of economic incentives, or encouraging carbon trading maintains the core values of economic growth and domination over nature that are inherent to industrialist-capitalist modes of thinking. This dominant science-policy approach marginalises alternative perspectives and effectively excludes them from the decision making process. This is unjustified and shows the hegemonic grip that science exerts in terms of speaking truth to power. By looking at the Waitati Transition Town I identified an alternative discourse that is based on the core values of moral responsibility, social justice, harmony and togetherness. The participants of the Waitati Transition Town incorporate their thoughts about climate change into a socio-cultural context that enables them to draw connections between the issue of climate change and other socio-ecological and socio-economic issues like resource depletion, pollution, biodiversity loss and economic instability. Through participating in various community initiatives ranging from the pursuit of renewable energy to public transport and growing vegetables in a community garden, people in Waitati create and maintain a discourse based on the vision of a pleasurable and fulfilling way of life within a resilient and thriving community. In order to achieve this vision, a cultural shift away from industrialist-capitalist core values has to take place. This cultural shift is the actual transition and the response to socio-ecological and socio-economic issues through building resilience is the vehicle that carries this shift. Hence, the most intriguing and powerful aspect of the transition concept is already its name – transition. Overall, the study highlights that the process of understanding climate change is essentially a cultural and social process. I intend that this thesis contributes to a rethinking of the process of knowledge production in its philosophical and political dimensions.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectclimate change
dc.subjectpolitics
dc.subjectcritical geography
dc.subjecttransition town
dc.titleUnderstanding Climate Change - The Case of the Waitati Transition Town
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2012-04-26T18:45:20Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineGeography
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Arts
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelMasters
otago.openaccessOpen
otago.evidence.presentYes
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