The Cultural Framing of Environmental Discourse
About the project
CFOED was one of 13 projects funded under the AHRC’s ‘Researching Environmental Change Networks’ scheme in 2011. Principal Investigator was Prof Axel Goodbody (University of Bath); Dr Ingolfur Blühdorn (University of Bath) and Dr Greg Garrard (Bath Spa University) were Co-Investigators.
Aims & objectives
Aims of the network were
1) to examine how environmental change is framed and identify the values underpinning its representation across a range of discourses and media;
2) to consider the role played by cultural framing, i.e. on the one hand the input of cultural media such as literature, film and art into public debates on the environment, and on the other the culture-specific framing of issues in different linguistic communities;
3) to ask what part cultural products and practices can play in informing about environmental change, changing attitudes and motivating change in behaviour.
Activities of the Network
Literature and the visual arts were examined alongside political, scientific and media discourses in order to gain a better understanding of differences in framing and the mechanisms involved, which might inform environmental debates between scientists, politicians and the public through mutual understanding, and assist educationalists in developing critical awareness of framing as a part of environmental education.
Three 2-day workshops were held in Bath in December 2010, February 2011, and June 2011, at which researchers in a range of disciplines and practitioners in environmental broadcasting, journalism and consultancy shared their observations on and experiences with framing, reframing and framing contests. Papers were circulated in advance to respondents, who led the discussion. The workshops included facilitated sessions to help establish common ground and develop research questions. Revised versions of the papers are archived here on the project website.
The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, which has a long record of providing support and dissemination for science and the arts in the Bath and Bristol area, was a project partner. BRLSI provided the city-centre venue for the workshops, and for a public lecture organised in collaboration with the Bath Literature Festival.
Achievements and findings
The Network brought researchers working on environmental discourse in the UK, Europe and America from the disciplines of English, Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, Communication Studies, Media Studies, Film, Art, Museology, Linguistics, Philosophy, History, Political Sociology, Psychology and Education together with environmental broadcasters, journalists and an environmental consultant.
It established the ability of Frame Analysis to serve as a conceptual tool for comparative analysis of the differing (and shifting) perceptions of environmental change in texts/ images across a range of discourses, and to throw light on the reasons for the different ways in which today’s environmental challenges are perceived and communicated by social actors. It also enabled initial exploration of the concept of ‘cultural framing’, drawing on the traditional classificatory tools of literary criticism as well as discourse and frame analysis, and of the potential of literature and the visual arts to contribute to environmental education by offering alternative frames to those prevalent in current environmental discourse.
The local public was engaged in an open lecture by the environmental consultant Liz Warren on the framing of environmental issues in business and local government, and in a ‘conversation’ between Mike Hulme and Adeline Johns-Putra on the framing of climate change in science and literature, which formed part of the Bath Literature Festival programme.
Download working papers - http://cfoed.co.uk/download-working-papers/