Accepted paper:

Climate change and social change


Ann Sofie Thorhauge (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how the ecological challenge as conveyed to us by climate researchers requires and shapes social change. It discusses how climate change produces social change as it is taken up in geopolitical assemblies and in local urban settings.

Paper long abstract:

This paper juxtaposes fieldwork experiences from two sites where different actors are actively working to produce social change in the wake of human induced global warming. The much criticized UN Cop-meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009, is analyzed as a geopolitical site in which state formation processes reshape and is reshaped by the threat of global climate change. This geopolitical site is juxtaposed to a small neighborhood in Copenhagen where local authorities have set up climate change as a locus for an urban renewal project. As global climate change highlights the need for social change as well as the interconnections of global and local practices, it calls for analytical frameworks that articulate these interconnections within a theory of social change. The analytical framework of Norbert EliasĀ“ provides such a frame, and revisiting his theory of the Civilization Process this paper discusses the uses of climate change in global processes of state formation. Following the interconnections of global and local practices this paper also discusses how climate change can be analyzed as halting or escalating civilizing processes of globally interdependent individuals.

panel P313
Practices of environmental justice: negotiating the relation between the social and the ecological sphere