Future jeopardised: socialities and creations of the fear of climate change
Aet Annist (University of Tartu and Tallinn University)
Bianka Pl├╝schke-Altof (Tallinn University)
Identities and Subjectivities
Thomas Paine Study Centre 2.03
Friday 6 September, 9:00-10:30, 14:00-15:30

Short abstract:

The panel invites explorations of socialities and identities emerging from heightened climate change fear and the knowledge systems of alarming climate information, their dispossessive effects in different contexts and the creativeness in preparing for a terrifying tomorrow, and in studying it.

Long abstract:

As levels of concern regarding possible dangerous climate change increase, growing numbers of people have become very alarmed about the severe threat to humankind in the near future. Facing fear is deeply personal and can render one hopeless and withdrawn, but also determined to prepare by mobilising, regrouping, preaching, etc. This panel invites theoretical and empirical explorations of identities and socialities emerging from such fears and responses to these. We propose, firstly, to investigate the particular knowledge systems sourcing people with their certainties and fears for the future, and their juxtapositions with the opposing epistemes (such as climate denialism), leading to particular perspectives on humankind's place in the world. Secondly, the panel will consider the dispossessive effects fear for the future might have in different socioeconomic, political and spatial contexts. On the one hand, for many of the fearful individuals, making preparations for the feared future is financially or practically unattainable. On the other hand, institutionalized processes, including state efforts to work towards climate goals have unequal effects across socioeconomic groups. Finally, dispossession works also across time and generations as wealth of the future selves and generations is transferred to the present via capitalist processes. Thirdly, we invite the participants to explore the creative responses, pathways and strategies arising from the attempts to prepare for, or alter today the terrifying tomorrow. With this, we aim to also discuss the potential of collaborative and innovative fieldwork to capture the socializing and/or individualising dimensions of fear.