The literature on climate change communication addresses a range of issues relevant
to the communication of climate change and climate science to lay audiences
or publics. In doing so, it approaches this particular challenge from a
variety of different perspectives and theoretical frameworks. Analyzing the body
of scholarly literature on climate change communication, this article critically
reviews how communication is conceptualized in the literature and concludes
that the fi eld of climate change communication is characterized by diverging and
incompatible understandings of communication as a theoretical construct. In
some instances, communication theory appears reduced to an ‘ad hoc’ toolbox,
from which theories are randomly picked to provide studies with a fi tting framework.
Inspired by the paradigm shift from transmission to interaction within
communication theory, potential lessons from the fi eld of communication theory
are highlighted and discussed in the context of communicating climate change.
Rooted in the interaction paradigm, the article proposes a meta-theoretical
framework that conceptualizes communication as a constitutive process of producing
and reproducing shared meanings. Rather than operating in separate
ontological and epistemological perspectives, a meta-theoretical conceptualization
of communication would ensure a common platform that advances multiperspective
argumentation and discussion of the role of climate change
communication in society.
Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. Vol. 7, no 3, 329-344 p.
Funding agencies: Nordic Top-Level Research Initiative through the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR)