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The use of religious metaphors by UK newspapers to describe and denigrate climate change

Woods, R, Fernandez, A and Coen, S 2012, 'The use of religious metaphors by UK newspapers to describe and denigrate climate change' , Public Understanding of Science, 21 (3) , pp. 323-339.

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Abstract

British newspapers have denigrated anthropogenic climate change by misrepresenting scientific consensus and/or framing climate change within unsympathetic discourses. One aspect of the latter that has not been studied is the use of metaphor to disparage climate change science and proponents. This article analyses 122 British newspaper articles published using a religious metaphor between summer 2003 and 2008. Most were critical of climate change, especially articles in conservative newspapers The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Times. Articles used religion as a source of metaphor to denigrate climate change in two ways: (1) undermining its scientific status by presenting it as irrational faith-based religion, and proponents as religious extremists intolerant of criticism; (2) mocking climate change using notions of sin, e.g. describing ‘green’ behaviours as atonement or sacrifice. We argue that the religious metaphor damages constructive debate by emphasizing morality and how climate change is discussed, and detracting attention from the content of scientific data and theories.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online before print November 26, 2010.
Themes: Energy
Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care
Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Social Justice Research
Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Health Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Public Understanding of Science
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0963-6625
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: S Coen
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 13:36
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 07:18
URI: http://usir.eprints.org/id/eprint/27247

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