Fakultät für Soziologie

Research Focus 2: Discourses between Science, Politics and the Media

Discourses on climate change in science, politics, and the mass media

The project analyzes how a science-driven discourse about future environmental changes initiated repercussions in central areas of modern societies and restructures social reality. The German discourse about anthropogenic climate change is taken as a case study. In addition to the scientific line of discourse the project analyzes the systematic differences in the way global climate change was also communicated in the spheres of politics and the mass media. Each of these three areas is the object of a retrospective longterm analysis covering the period from 1975 to 1995, during which global climate change as established as a legitimate field for political action in Germany.

Recent Publications:Weingart,P., & Pansegrau,P. (1997): Von der Hypothese zur Katastrophe - die Verarbeitung wissenschaftlicher Unsicherheit in den Medien. In: ZiF (ed.), Mitteilungen, 25-32. Bielefeld.
Engels,A., & Weingart,P. (1997): Die Politisierung des Klimas. Zur Entstehung von anthropogenem Klimawandel als politischem Handlungsfeld. In: P. Hiller & G. Krücken (eds.), Risiko und Regulierung. Soziologische Beiträge zu Technikkontrolle und präventiver Umweltpolitik, 90-115. F rankfurt a.M. Suhrkamp
Weingart,P. (1998): Climate Coalitions: The Science and Politics of Climate Change, Introduction, Minerva, 37, 103-104
Weingart,P., Engels,A., & Pansegrau,P. (2000): Risks of communication: discourses on climate change in science, politics, and the mass media. Public Understanding of Science, 9, 261-283.


Discourses on Global Environmental Risks: Globalization of Science under Conditions of Growing Media Orientation

This project analyzes discourses on global environmental risks and their institutional changes in science and politics. The project's first objective is to develop institutional indicators to measure the degree to which science globalization has already taken place. Globalization is here defined as the emergence of a relatively independent supranational organizational layer of research (in terms of funding, publications and knowledge networks) that is disembedded from national contexts. However, as this globalized science provides a global monitoring of the endangered earth, national political agendas increasingly have to react to global environ-mental risks. The focus of this project is on the interplay between science globalization (as a disembedding process) and national readjustments and new local knowledge orders (as re-embbeding processes). A further aspect is the growing role of the mass media in communicat-ing global environmental risks. Global climate change and biodiversity serve as case-studies. Processes of national readjustments will be analyzed in Germany and the U.S. The project is funded by the German Research Council (DFG).


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