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A qualitative study on climate fiction and readers’ perceived (non)agency in dealing with climate change

Holzwarth, L. (2022) A qualitative study on climate fiction and readers’ perceived (non)agency in dealing with climate change.

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Abstract:Lately, it has been argued that climate-fiction (cli-fi) has the potential to provide readers with tools to deal with the topic of climate change. Thus, it seems important to start exploring whether and how cli-fi could really serve as a psychological tool for people to feel more willing and capable to deal with climate change. This research therefore analyses how cli-fi readers construct their (non)agency - their perceived ability and willingness (or the lack thereof) – in relation to climate change. Results drawn from a thematic analysis of 17 interview transcripts reveal 6 agency themes illustrating various ways of how participants construct climate related (non)agency in negotiation with reading cli-fi. The most common (non)agency themes that emerged were “Individual agency”, “Collective agency”, “Limited collective agency” and “Paralyzed individual agency”. Here, readers expressed 4 cli-fi reading experience aspects as enhancing their agency (awareness creation, emotional involvement, perspective change, knowledge delivery) and 3 aspects as tempering (emotional involvement, lack of emotional involvement, lack of displayed solutions). Overall, climate fiction was expressed as having a twofold impact, with some people perceiving the books as supporting their agency, whereas others perceived the books as an obstacle.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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