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Young, sceptical, and environmentally (dis)engaged: do news habits make a difference?
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University, Jönkoping, Sweden.
2019 (English)In: JCOM - Journal of Science Communication, ISSN 1824-2049, E-ISSN 1824-2049, Vol. 18, no 4, article id A06Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research shows that news consumption plays a positive role in youths' environmental engagement. This article examines if this also holds true for sceptics by comparing Swedish climate change sceptics with non-sceptical youngsters in their early and late adolescence. We conceptualise news consumption as foci of public connection and orientation rather than a source of environmental information. The results show that in their early teens, heavy news consumers among both sceptics and non-sceptics are indeed more engaged with environmental issues than their less news-oriented peers. However, in late adolescence, sceptics among news consumers show very little environmental engagement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sissa Medialab srl , 2019. Vol. 18, no 4, article id A06
Keywords [en]
Environmental communication, Science and media
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-76450DOI: 10.22323/2.18040206ISI: 000482887300006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-76450DiVA, id: diva2:1351545
Available from: 2019-09-16 Created: 2019-09-16 Last updated: 2020-01-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Matters of Public Connection: The role of mediated and interpersonal communication in young people's environmental engagement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Matters of Public Connection: The role of mediated and interpersonal communication in young people's environmental engagement
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What lies at the heart of environmental identity is the recognition of our interconnection with other people, living and not yet born, as well as nonhumans. To develop this sense of belonging, one needs to sustain public connection—a basic orientation to the public world where matters of shared concern are addressed. This connection is best sustained through communication— interpersonal and through media. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the role that public connection, interpersonal and mediated, plays in young people’s everyday environmental engagement. This dissertation addresses the task by focusing on how this role varies among adolescents of different ages, genders, and existing environmental attitudes and how it changes over time. Drawing on Bruno Latour’s notion of “matters of concern” and Steven Vogel’s environmental philosophy, this inquiry challenges the common understanding of environmental awareness as an “extremely scientific view of the world,” expands the role of the media and interpersonal communication beyond the dissemination of scientific and ecological information and its effects on people, and taps into communication’s potential to sustain public connection. To provide a more integrated and dynamic perspective on adolescents’ communication flows, I employ longitudinal quantitative data and draw heavily on a toolbox of person-oriented methods. Methodologically, the main focus lies in identifying types of young people who function in a similar way and comparing how the relationship between public connection and environmental engagement unfolds for these different types of individuals. This dissertation consists of three empirical studies. The findings suggest that the more strongly connected to the public world young people are, the more engaged they are with environmental issues. Both interpersonal discussions and news media use assist in strengthening engaged adolescents’ belief that their contribution matters for tackling climate change. However, environmentally aware youth may project their own beliefs onto other people rather than being influenced by others’ beliefs. Disengaged youth do not sustain public connection, whether through conversation or through media. The role of mediated public connection varies among adolescents. Media may not be the most important channel for environmentally engaged youth to sustain their orientation to the public realm. This is indicated by the deep gender divide, in which girls are more concerned about the environment but consume significantly less news than boys. While news consumption does not seem to contribute to environmental disengagement, its relevance to pro-environmental practices weakens as teenagers mature. Early adolescence may be a critical window of opportunity to instill values of connectivity and form everyday habits that can help us achieve a more sustainable future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2020. p. 106
Series
Örebro Studies in Media and Communication, ISSN 1651-4785 ; 26
Keywords
public connection, mediated public connection, environmental engagement, climate change, skepticism, gender divide, environmental communication, young people
National Category
Media Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-78477 (URN)978-91-7529-317-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-01-31, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F1, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-12-06 Created: 2019-12-06 Last updated: 2020-01-08Bibliographically approved

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Lakew, Yuliya

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