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Title: Thoughts and feelings about climate change : an in-depth investigation
Author: Tollemache, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 0380
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is based on the hypothesis that little is being done to address the problems of climate change and that this is widely denied. It provides a qualitative investigation of thoughts and feelings about climate change and the environment from single interviews with twenty opportunistically chosen participants. It employs psycho-social methodology to combine psychoanalytical, sociological, cultural and ecological theory. My original contributions to knowledge are: Firstly, all my participants employed diverse forms of denial of the need to mitigate climate change and environmental damage, and defended their non-environmental behaviour. They negated their knowledge by disregarding their non-environmental behaviour, sometimes feeling entitled to act in that way. They disavowed knowledge by resisting awareness, treating facts as non-existent or irrelevant, or disclaiming responsibility. Secondly, early experiences had shaped the thoughts and feelings of some participants about climate change and the environment. Environmental interest sometimes coincided with a strong childhood relationship with an environmentally minded parent and an attachment to a particular country area. Some, having had active, enthusiastic parents, felt optimistic and empowered to engage with climate change. Others, without such influences, felt pessimistic and disempowered. Among participants there was apparently little ecological awareness, or understanding of the ecologies of mind, society and nature. Thirdly, all participants had complex, ambivalent and contradictory thoughts and feelings about climate change. We are all implicated and all can contribute to mitigating climate change, particularly by being willing to talk about it. Fourthly, my analysis of the data draws on psychoanalytical, psychological, sociological, cultural and ecological theory and research, and uses psycho-social methodology to produce an in depth investigation of thoughts and feelings about climate change. This has supported and confirmed theories of denial from different schools of thought, and has illustrated similarities between them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: climate change ; denial ; attitudes ; psycho-social research ; disavowal ; negation ; ecology ; psychological and sociological approaches