The Power of Narrative

As the Dixie Wildfire rages in California, this week's review asks: why is climate change skepticism still so common—and what can we do about it?

The Power of Narrative: Climate Skepticism and the Deconstruction of Science

Lejano, Raul P. by Raul P. Lejano and Shondel J. Nero Oxford, 2020
204p bibl index, 9780197542101 $74.00, 9780197542101

The Power of Narrative: Climate Skepticism and the Deconstruction of Science book cover

Why is climate change skepticism so rampant in the media when the scientific community has clearly accepted a changing climate? Scholars of environmental policy and applied linguistics, the authors address this core question by examining counternarratives and ideologies evident in the media. Well-analyzed findings in several chapters are derived through narrative analysis methodology applied to sample media sources and associated online commentary. Lejano and Nero (both, New York Univ.) effectively distill selected climate counternarratives into a list of core common themes and strategies a variety of readers will easily recognize. One chapter also explores criticism of scientists and questions such as who are the true authors of the IPCC reports on which national climate policy is often based. The text concludes with direct discussion of the “so what?” question by providing suggestions for addressing climate skepticism, including opening direct dialogue, and speaking to ideologically driven fears. Scholarly yet accessible to a variety of readers, including undergraduates, this text ably complements prior works on climate skepticism, scientific opinion, and media, such as Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes (CH, Jul’11, 48-6243). This thought-provoking work is especially commended to scholars and students of environmental studies and the sciences, political science, communication, and journalism.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
C. A. Badurek, SUNY Cortland
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Environmental Studies
Subject: Science & Technology
Choice Issue: Nov 2021

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