Kari Marie Norgaard

Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life

In her lecture, professor Kari Norgaard uses interviews and ethnographic data from a community in western Norway during the unusually warm winter of 2000-2001 to describe how knowledge of climate change is experienced in everyday life. Stories in local and national newspapers linked the warm winter explicitly to global warming. Yet residents did not write letters to the editor, pressure politicians, or cut down on the use of fossil fuels. Norgaard describes the disturbing emotions of guilt, helplessness and fear of the future that arose when people were confronted with the idea of climate change – and then builds a model of socially organized denial to describe how people normalized these disturbing emotions through the deployment of conversation norms and discourses that served as “tools of social order.” Using literature from sociology of emotions, environmental sociology and sociology of culture, she describes “the social organization of climate denial” through multiple levels, from emotions to cultural norms to political economy.

The lectures shared here were given on October 5th 2013 in the following order:

Guðni Elísson: “Earth101”
Stefan Rahmstorf: “The Climate Crisis”
Michael Mann: “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”
Kari Norgaard: “Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life”
Peter Sinclair: “Communicating Climate Science in the Disinformation Era”
Recorded by Phil Coates and edited by Ryan Chapman.