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Title: Climate change, moral panic, and civilization: on the development of global warming as a social problem
Authors: Rohloff, Amanda
Advisors: Hughes, J
Keywords: Sociology;Norbert Elias;Figurational sociology;Ecological civilizing process
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: School of Social Sciences Theses
Abstract: This study combines moral panic with the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias to explore how climate change has developed as a social problem. The central argument is that,through combining the short-term focus of moral panic with the long-term focus of Elias, we can examine the interplay between planned and unplanned developments in both the perception and reality of climate change. The first part of the research consisted of discourse analysis of a variety of different texts from 1800 to the present. These were used to explore the long-term development of climatechange as emerging from an ecological civilizing process. The second stage of the research related these developments to moral panics, arguing that the emergence of climate change can only be understood by exploring the interplay between long-term processes and short-term campaigns. The third part of the research explored these historical developments at the individual level, examining the notion of individual ecological civilizing processes. 15 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with climate change ‘activists’ and ‘non-activists’, comparing how their biographical developments related to ecological civilizing processes and moral panics. The final part of the research compared climate change with five other empirical examples of moral panics, to explore the civilizing and decivilizing processes and civilizing offensives that occur before, during, and after the panics. The central aim was to demonstrate the complexity of moral panics, and to aid in the reformulation of the concepts of moral panic and decivilization. Through a synthesis of Elias and moral panic, as applied to the example of climate change, this study aimed to: critically assess the development of climate change; to reassess the concept of decivilization and the relation between civilizing processes and offensives; and to reformulate the concept of moral panic, including suggesting how moral panic research ought to be undertaken.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

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