This paper has analyzed the extent to which the logic and cultural debate around climate change represents a logic schism.
This is an area that social sciences can add a great deal to further understanding in the social and policy arena.
Unfortunately, the contemporary presentation of academic scholarship in the climate change debate is largely dominated by the fields of economics, engineering and law. If social scientists that focus on cultural and social phenomenon want to engage as well, they must bring their academic tools to bear on problem domains like climate change. It is not enough to say the science is decided if the skepticism counter-movement remains active and public uncertainty increases. Organizational researchers and social theorists have unique theories and methods at their disposal to explain why climate change is a polarizing issue in some settings and not others and why some organizations support or resist efforts to mitigate GHG emissions (Hoffman, 2011).
If successful in spurring greater scholarly interest in the cultural, ideological and institutional elements undergirding the climate debate, research in this area – like all contentious social problems – will be undertaken by social science scholars using a variety of different theoretical approaches. Scholars who are more comfortable with normative research may take a critical theory stance toward climate skepticism, but others will approach the issue through the lenses of rational choice theory, game theory, organizational theory, economic sociology, etc. I remain agnostic about which of these approaches will be the most successful at explaining the drivers behind – and ultimately the outcomes of – the climate debate and believe this is best sorted out in robust academic as well as public debate.
to download PDF and read FULL paper Talking Past Each Other? Cultural Framing of Skeptical and Convinced Logics in the Climate Change Debate by Andrew J. Hoffman