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Cold Science Meets Hot Weather: Environmental Threats, Emotional Messages and Scientific Storytelling
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Environmental Sociology Section)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6735-0011
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Environmental Sociology Section)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8695-4504
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Environmental Sociology Section)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1495-8346
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Environmental Sociology Section)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3679-3140
2020 (English)In: Media and Communication, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 118-128Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Science is frequently called upon to provide guidance in the work towards sustainable development. However, for science to promote action, it is not sufficient that scientific advice is seen as competent and trustworthy. Such advice must also be perceived as meaningful and important, showing the need and urgency of taking action. This article discusses how science tries to facilitate action. It claims that the use of scientific storytelling—coherent stories told by scientists about environmental trajectories—are central in this; these stories provide meaning and motivate and guide action. To do this, the storylines need to include both a normative orientation and emotional appeals. Two different cases of scientific storytelling are analyzed: one is a dystopic story about a world rushing towards ecological catastrophe, and the other is an optimistic story about a world making dramatic progress. These macrosocial stories offer science-based ways to see the world and aim to foster and guide action. The article concludes by stating that using storylines in scientific storytelling can elicit fear, inspire hope, and guide action. The storylines connect cold and distant scientific findings to passionate imperatives about the need for social transformation. However, this attachment to emotions and values needs to be done reflexively, not only in order to create engagement with an issue but also to counteract a post-truth society where passionate imperatives go against scientific knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cogitatio , 2020. Vol. 8, no 1, p. 118-128
Keywords [en]
Anthropocene, emotions, Factfulness, narratives, science communication, scientific storytelling, The Great Acceleration
National Category
Sociology Media and Communications
Research subject
Sociology; Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-80839DOI: 10.17645/mac.v8i1.2432ISI: 000527401800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-80839DiVA, id: diva2:1416908
Available from: 2020-03-25 Created: 2020-03-25 Last updated: 2020-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Cold Science Meets Hot Weather: Environmental Threats, Emotional Messages and Scientific Storytelling(1049 kB)54 downloads
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Lidskog, RolfBerg, MonikaGustafsson, Karin M.Löfmarck, Erik

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