Sociology and Climate Change after Kyoto: What Roles for Social Science in Understanding Climate Change?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article focuses on the comparatively neglected role of the social sciences (including economics) and of assumptions about the social functioning of the scientific community in projections about climate change and about societies' responses to changing climates and related environmental phenomena. Using an approach informed by social constructionism and science and technology studies, it examines the part played by the social sciences and the social institutions of science in making knowledge about the future of humankind in relation to the changing ecosphere. Using a small series of case studies focused on the way that social science features in the shaping of climate knowledge — for example, how value is attached to economic activities in different countries in the course of attempts to calculate the most `rational' global response to the myriad threats of changing climates — the article shows that there is a need for (1) greater understanding of the social dimensions of the scientific community that studies climate change and (2) more social science reflection on the roles of social science in climate-change models and projections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-405
JournalCurrent Sociology
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • judgement
  • peer review
  • social construction

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