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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2014

David J. Hess

The emergence of climate science denialism in the United States provides a challenge to STS theories of the relationship between scientific expertise and public policy…

Abstract

The emergence of climate science denialism in the United States provides a challenge to STS theories of the relationship between scientific expertise and public policy because a situation of epistemic rift occurs: the capacity of scientific consensus to establish the grounds of political debate is broken, and the standard circulation of expertise from the scientists and funding from the state is interrupted. Three mechanisms for the containment of scientific expertise are studied: direct intellectual suppression of climate scientists, industry support of contrarian scientists and policymakers, and cutbacks on government research programs that support climate change. This situation politicizes climate scientists, who are drawn into the public sphere as a counterpublic to the effort to contain the circulation of their knowledge in the political field. Although the strategy of contained expertise has been effective in blocking climate legislation at the federal government level in the United States, it may be losing effectiveness, and an emergent alternative strategy based on adaptation may be coming to replace it. Factors that affect the reduction in the capacity to contain the circulation of scientific expertise are also analyzed.

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Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-668-2

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Anouk de Regt, Matteo Montecchi and Sarah Lord Ferguson

Diffusion of fake news and pseudo-facts is becoming increasingly fast-paced and widespread, making it more difficult for the general public to separate reliable…

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Abstract

Purpose

Diffusion of fake news and pseudo-facts is becoming increasingly fast-paced and widespread, making it more difficult for the general public to separate reliable information from misleading content. The purpose of this article is to provide a more advanced understanding of the underlying processes that contribute to the spread of health- and beauty-related rumors and of the mechanisms that can mitigate the risks associated with the diffusion of fake news.

Design/methodology/approach

By adopting denialism as a conceptual lens, this article introduces a framework that aims to explain the mechanisms through which fake news and pseudo-facts propagate within the health and beauty industry. Three exemplary case studies situated within the context of the health and beauty industry reveal the persuasiveness of these principles and shed light on the diffusion of false and misleading information.

Findings

The following seven denialistic marketing tactics that contribute to diffusion of fake news can be identified: (1) promoting a socially accepted image; (2) associating brands with a healthy lifestyle; (3) use of experts; (4) working with celebrity influencers; (5) selectively using and omitting facts; (6) sponsoring research and pseudo-science; and (7)exploiting regulatory loopholes. Through a better understanding of how fake news spreads, brand managers can simultaneously improve the optics that surround their firms, promote sales organically and reinforce consumers’ trust toward the brand.

Originality/value

Within the wider context of the health and beauty industry, this article sets to explore the mechanisms through which fake news and pseudo-facts propagate and influence brands and consumers. The article offers several contributions not only to the emergent literature on fake news but also to the wider marketing and consumer behavior literature.

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Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Richard A. Slaughter

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG…

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG) project. Part two uses three sets of criteria (domains of reality, worldviews and values) to characterise some of the interior human and social aspects of the “denial machine.” It uses these criteria to address some vital, but currently under-appreciated “interior” aspects of descent. (N.B. A succinct “primer” or overview of the concept and underpinning rationale for notions of “descent pathways” is provided in the introduction to this special issue.)

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a number of authoritative sources that track the dimensions of global change and, specifically, the ways that humanity is tracking towards Dystopian overshoot-and-collapse futures. The significance of the LtG project is assessed in this context. Part two employs the criteria noted above to identify and open out the centrality of the human and cultural interiors.

Findings

Responses to the LtG project are shown to have deprived humanity of the clarity and will to respond effectively to the emerging global emergency. The rise of climate change denialism has followed suit and made effective responses increasingly difficult. A new focus, however, on some of the dynamics of reality domains, worldviews and values, clarifies both the nature of the problem and prefigures a range of solutions, some of which are briefly outlined.

Research limitations/implications

This is primarily a conceptual paper that suggests a range of practical responses. For example, re-purposing parts of the current information technology (IT) infrastructure away from financial and economic indices to those tracking the health of the planet. Also translating the case put forward here for a new generation of Institutions of Foresight (IoFs) into real-world start-ups and examples. Further research is needed into the uses and limitations both of positive and negative views of futures. It is suggested that the latter have more value than is commonly realised.

Practical implications

In addition to those stated above, the practical implications include new uses for IT infrastructure based on worldcentric – rather than financial and economic worldviews; designing and implementing a new generation of IoFs; and finding new ways to inform the public of impending Dystopian outcomes without exacerbating avoidance and depression.

Social implications

The social implications are profound. Currently, humanity has allowed itself to “tune out” and ignore many of the well-founded “signals” (from the global system) and warnings (from those who have observed and tracked real-world changes). As a result, it has outgrown the capacity of the planet to support the current population, let alone the 10 billion currently projected by the United Nations (UN). Something must give. Applied foresight can provide essential lead time to act before human actions are overwhelmed by forces beyond its control.

Originality/value

The paper draws together material from hitherto disparate sources to assess the LtG project. It also deploys key concepts from an integral perspective that shed new light on human and cultural forces that determine how people respond to the prospect of Dystopian futures. In so doing, it provides insight into why we are where we are and also into some of the means by which humanity can respond. Specifically, it suggests a shift from collapse narratives to those of descent.

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2018

Michael Polgar

Abstract

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Holocaust and Human Rights Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-499-4

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Book part
Publication date: 12 February 2013

Claire Laurier Decoteau

Sociologists have tended to construct theories of identity based on unitary notions of social location which avoid conceptualizing disjunction and contradiction and which…

Abstract

Sociologists have tended to construct theories of identity based on unitary notions of social location which avoid conceptualizing disjunction and contradiction and which therefore fail to capture certain characteristics of the postcolonial condition. This paper engages in a postcolonial re-reading of sociological theories of practice (in particular, Pierre Bourdieu's notion of habitus). It does so through an analysis of the historical development of the field of health and healing in South Africa. From the beginning of the colonial enterprise, biomedicine resisted amalgamation with other forms of healing and insisted on a monotherapeutic ideology and practice whereas indigenous healing accommodated not only biomedicine, but invited pluralism within and across cultural and ethnic differences. As such, a bifurcated and parallel system of healing emerged, whereby Black South Africans practiced pluralism and white South Africans utilized biomedicine in isolation. This disjuncture became acrimonious in the post-apartheid era as the state attempted to forge a united health system and battle the AIDS epidemic. Despite the historical and contemporary bifurcations within the field of health and healing, people living with AIDS continue to subscribe to a hybrid health ideology. There is, therefore, a structural disjuncture between the realities of consumption within the field of health and healing and the logic of the field as it is articulated in the symbolic struggle raging in the field of power. The field of health and healing is characterized, therefore, by a simultaneous bifurcation and hybridity – which is reflected in HIV-infected South Africans’ beliefs and practices. In order to make sense of this puzzling disjuncture and its impact on subjects’ trajectories of action, this paper draws insight from Pierre Bourdieu's theory of habitus and Homi Bhabha's conceptualization of hybridity – transforming each of them through their synthesis and application to the postcolonial context.

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Postcolonial Sociology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-603-3

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Joshua Floyd and Richard A. Slaughter

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then exceeds significant limits to growth. The second is to present material that provides grounds for developing effective responses.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue draws on evidence from previous research, economic modelling and a range of other sources to investigate the hypothesis that humanity is heading towards an “overshoot and collapse” future. It further suggests that a useful way of responding is to explore the possibility that the prospect of collapse can be moderated or avoided through a process of “conscious descent.”

Findings

The main findings are that a very wide spectrum of policies, actions, strategies and options is available that can and should be used to help us avoid the most disastrous manifestations of “overshoot and collapse.” Yet there are also many barriers and impediments that continue to inhibit effective responses. This means that the process of coming to grips with the “civilisational challenge” will take longer and become increasingly costly. Denialism and short term thinking remain embedded in dominant institutions and mainstream practice. Currently, vastly more is miss-spent on various perverse incentives (e.g. advertising, the funding of denial, fossil fuel subsidies) than on securing the future of civilisation. This can be seen as a consequence of outdated values and inadequate worldviews.

Research limitations/implications

The contributions here represent a sample from within a rapidly expanding field of enquiry and action. They should therefore be seen as indicating the need for further high quality investigation, work and action. The main implication is that this process needs to be taken seriously, properly resourced and eventually transformed into a mainstream social project.

Originality/value

The papers are contributions to an in-depth understanding of a complex and evolving situation. Their value lies in the fact that greater understanding and a commitment to early action are among the most productive investments available to societies vulnerable to the systemic threats outlined here. As such, the special issue evokes a fundamental tenet of foresight work in general. Or to put this in the words of Bertrand de Jouvenel, “the proof of improvidence lies in falling under the empire of necessity.”

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foresight, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 15 September 2021

Roma Madan-Soni

The purpose of this article is to collectively work towards understanding and resolving the COVID-19 pandemic issues based on Messersmith's (2018) song, We All Do Better…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to collectively work towards understanding and resolving the COVID-19 pandemic issues based on Messersmith's (2018) song, We All Do Better When We All Do Better. Furthermore, Our Identity should not Remain Marked to understand and overcome the workings of a virus whose Identity [DOES NOT] Remain Marked!

Design/methodology/approach

Practice-based creation coalesced with analytical writing.

Findings

We All Do Better When We All Do Better! The COVID-19 pandemic corresponds to crucial fundamental assumptions which have appeared from adversity anthropology over the past epochs. First, that environmental catastrophes infrequently surface, because calamities are communal and reliant on trans-species relationships. Furthermore, they appear from a blend of threat and susceptibility, with susceptibility as the causal issue. Second, the disaster occurs at manifold ranks concurrently, with responses to a threat; it endangers all the weak issues along with the original threat (Kelman, 2020).

Research limitations/implications

Throughout COVID-19 much of the media left cavernous time gaps, masks turned into tools of rebellion, and power and violence were exercised indirectly on the vulnerable. The virtual campuses of WhatsApp, Facebook and conventional broadcasting are disseminating specialist knowledge in pandemic science; now everyone is certified. They voice a nouveau-vindictive biopolitical language, so we rise towards COVID-19 denialism. And, we turn into unthinking puppets who speed up the transfer of misinformation that moves like an “asymptomatic” cough through an overcrowded bar or beach as all inhale-consume it.

Practical implications

Part of pandemic planning and dealing with the consequential calamity is to integrate instantly the disastrous aspects caused by lockdowns. In this surge of terror and apprehension, we cannot afford to isolate people, even more through shame and prejudice. Each one of us is accountable to support each other and advocate for an all-inclusive healthy community.

Social implications

Unescapably, as an immigrant, I had never dreaded this “home away from home” and stay anyhow, and I always had something to write home about. But recently I have had “Nothing to Write Home About,” (Madan-Soni, 2019). Migrant employees in most countries including international students were not much more than uninvited guests positioned in a conventional neighbourhood. It is as if your every expatriate-neighbour was plague-ridden and waiting to infect you. But the virus required no genomic or national identity or visa rank, it could cut all lines to get to you. The virus's Identity Is [Not] Marked.

Originality/value

Our Identity Remains Marked (2020) is my probing visual description of how Our Identity Remains Marked, layered, and stratified in stone under authoritarian structures of patriarchy. I read and researched about how Our Identity Remains Marked when humans are othered through the colours of race, gender, national and immigrant status, including all Earth others. Crafting things, creating something engages with a developing field of ecofeminist research on visual and embodied approaches and creativity (VEM Network, n.d; Reynolds, 2021). Painting offered me a therapeutic way of thinking and of using my senses.

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Ecofeminism and Climate Change, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2633-4062

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

Dennis R. Morgan

The purpose of this paper is to expand upon one theme in Richard Slaughter's The Biggest Wake Up Call in History (BWCH) – that of the “collective shadow.”

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to expand upon one theme in Richard Slaughter's The Biggest Wake Up Call in History (BWCH) – that of the “collective shadow.”

Design/methodology/approach

Along with Slaughter, the author contends that the denialism indicative of strong negative reactions to the publication of Limits to Growth since 1972 is part of a larger problem within the collective psyche that must be understood and confronted.

Findings

For the first time in history, largely due to the emergence of global consciousness and, more recently, the advent of the internet, it is conceivable that authentic global democracy could emerge as an alternate network power, which challenges the structural criminality within the collective shadow, as well as the secret rule of the Empire Power Elite.

Originality/value

This paper exposes structural criminality within the collective shadow, its relationship to the advent of disaster capitalism, and its role in the emergence of a global ruling class.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 26 February 2021

David Heath Cooper and Joane Nagel

This article examines US official and public responses to the COVID-19 pandemic for insights into future policy and pubic responses to global climate change.

Abstract

Purpose

This article examines US official and public responses to the COVID-19 pandemic for insights into future policy and pubic responses to global climate change.

Design/methodology/approach

This article compares two contemporary global threats to human health and well-being: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. We identify several similarities and differences between the two environmental phenomena and explore their implications for public and policy responses to future climate-related disasters and disruptions.

Findings

Our review of research on environmental and public health crises reveals that though these two crises appear quite distinct, some useful comparisons can be made. We analyze several features of the pandemic for their implications for possible future responses to global climate change: elasticity of public responses to crises; recognition of environmental, health, racial, and social injustice; demand for effective governance; and resilience of the natural world.

Originality/value

This paper examines public and policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic for their implications for mitigating and adapting to future climate crises.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 20 September 2021

Suze Wilson

The ongoing global pandemic poses significant challenges for researchers, personally and professionally, as it does for all people. However, even if we cannot safely leave…

Abstract

The ongoing global pandemic poses significant challenges for researchers, personally and professionally, as it does for all people. However, even if we cannot safely leave our home to gather qualitative data by directly meeting with people, opportunities abound for engaging in discourse analysis. After all, people have not stopped talking or writing, even if much of that is now via Zoom, social media or some other technology platform rather than face to face. What people are talking and writing about at this time matters greatly because language use profoundly shapes how people interpret reality, perceive themselves and others and act. Quite literally, then, the discourse people engage in and are influenced by during the pandemic may help to save or imperil lives and livelihoods. While there are many possible approaches to discourse analysis, this chapter focuses on some key insights French philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault offers for such endeavors. It offers an introductory account of his key concepts and methods, followed by a brief case study to demonstrate their application to discourses that reject scientific knowledge and advice about COVID-19.

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