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Between Moral and Climate Crisis: Interpreting Climate Change Through the Lens of Moral Panic

Between Moral and Climate Crisis: Interpreting Climate Change Through the Lens of Moral Panic
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Author(s): Maria Laura Ruiu (Northumbria University, UK) and Massimo Ragnedda (Northumbria University, UK)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 19
Source title: Handbook of Research on Advanced Research Methodologies for a Digital Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Gabriella Punziano (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) and Angela Delli Paoli (University of Salerno, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8473-6.ch040

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Abstract

This chapter identifies four main themes in the literature on media communication of climate change, which represent an interesting object of analysis for scholars who focus on moral panics' application. The combination of both the processual model and the attributional model to interpret the results of this literature review shows that during its emergence, climate change was polarised between “advocates” and “deniers” of both its existence and anthropogenic causes. This division has progressively shifted towards the consequences of climate change and need for action against it. Two distinct moral panics are identified. One is rooted in sceptical arguments and seems to work “in reverse” by emphasising the “uncertainty” around the phenomenon and its impacts. A second one is triggered by climate change supporters, who emphasise that climate change threatens life on the planet and that the current social practices need regulation and control.

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