Day-to-Day Engagement: A Study of the Complexities of Climate Change Engagement in the Context of Day-to-day Life
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis adds a complex account to existing climate change engagement literature, which captures the ways that interactions with, and interpretations of, climate change emerge across the spaces and practices of day-to-day life. The empirical research for this thesis was based in Penryn and Falmouth, two small adjoining coastal towns located in the county of Cornwall, in the southwest of the UK. Fieldwork across a number of sites including schools, community groups and the local fishery engaged participants in a wide variety of research interactions. A combination of ethnographic and autoethnographic techniques were applied to produce complex, nuanced and personal accounts of interactions with and reflections on climate change that emerged in a day-to-day context. This study employed the innovative use of a personal research archive to facilitate the process of sense making across a body of highly detailed and contextual data. Through the use of thematic coding, links between data collected in diverse research encounters has been drawn together to produce meaningful narratives of climate change engagement in day-to-day life. These narratives capture the adaptive, imperfectly situated and inconsistent engagement responses that emerge as a result of the challenging nature of climate change and the inevitable, multiple pressures of the day-to-day context. The research approach taken in this study, and the findings set out in the thesis make contributions to three main areas of climate change engagement literature. Firstly, it explores the way that climate change is situated and understood in the context of day-to-day life. Secondly, it considers the implications of conceptualising climate change engagement as either a ‘process’ or a ‘state’. Finally, it extends existing analysis of ‘barriers to engagement’, locating them within the complexity of the day-to-day context and identifying them as part of essential interpretive iterations of engagement.
European Social Fund
PhD in Geography