LUCSUS Seminar: Do we need to reframe our understanding of environmental communication? Beyond instrumental concepts of communication for sustainability transformations
Communication about environmental and sustainability issues is seen as crucial to achieve societal transformations towards more sustainable futures. However, such environmental communication still tends to be conceptualised as linear diffusion of (expert) knowledge, and much research concentrates on the instrumental aspects of communication, focusing on communication that is intentional and directed. We argue that we need to broaden and reframe our understanding and practice of environmental communication if we want to deal more effectively with the challenges posed by large-scale sustainability transitions. We present three ideas about environmental communication that form the foundation of such a reframing process: (1) Understanding communication as multilateral, (2) understanding communication as both instrumentaland constitutive and (3) understanding conflict as a potentially constructive aspect of communication. We illustrate these ideas with empirical examples from the fields of sustainability transformations, climate change and conflict over natural resource management, and explore how such ideas can not only inform a new research agenda, but also environmental communication in practice.
Anke Fischer is a professor in Environmental Communication at SLU. Her research combines perspectives from psychology, sociology and governance studies. It approaches environmental communication through conceptual lenses such as social representations, discourses and values, and explores intersections with legitimacy, resistance and participation, and their implications for the governance of conflict and transformation processes.
Everyone is welcome to attend! No registration needed!