University of Twente Student Theses


Uncovering meaning when imagining a preferred personal life in climate futures

Thomson, S. (2021) Uncovering meaning when imagining a preferred personal life in climate futures.

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Abstract:Climate change is a socially relevant topic that causes current and future distress. To deal with this distress, one promising avenue is meaning-making. It is thought that meaning-making can lessen distress or enable a pathway to successful adjustment. One way to uncover future meaning is through narrative futuring. Narrative futuring asks individuals to mental transport into the future and narrate a desired future. Extending Park’s meaning-making model (2010), this research aims to investigate anticipatory meaning-making by asking participants to narrate a desired future in 2042 whereby climate change has progressed. This imagined future is called a climate future. The research aimed to investigate how young adults in the Netherlands uncovered meaning in climate futures using the meaning-making model. This research relied on qualitative data and had two parts. In part one, 32 young adults living in the Netherlands were shown one of two videos depicting a Transhumanism (TH) or Deep Ecology (DE) narrative. They then wrote a Letter from the Future (Sools, 2020). Letters were then analysed using the elements of the model. For part two, 5 participants took part in a focus group. This aimed to obtain a better picture of meaning-making and focused on the appraised meaning, distress and successful adjustment, and meaning-making processes. The results showed commonalities between how meaning-making was expressed in both conditions (TH and DE). Generally speaking, participants suggested that successful adjustment could be obtained in 2042, however, this was usually after a period of distress. The narratives were commonly expressed and seemingly helped obtain successful adjustment. The research indicated that Park's (2010) model can be extended to anticipatory meaning-making and that it can also be applied to climate futures. Further revisions of the model for anticipatory meaning-making are recommended.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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