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Post-politics contested: Why multiple voices on climate change do not equal politicisation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number0263774X1880720
Pages (from-to)831-848
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Issue number5
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Accepted/In press24 Sep 2018
E-pub ahead of print25 Oct 2018


King's Authors


Contemporary discourses on climate change have been analysed as profoundly depoliticised. At the same time, this post-political thesis has been challenged for not taking the multiplicity of voices and actually existing forms of contestation into account. In this paper, I investigate the tension between these two positions and show that the existence of diverging voices and environmental struggles does not disprove the post-political thesis as such. I do this both from a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Theoretically, the paper presents a rereading of post-foundational theory and its implications for dealing with climate change. Empirically, the paper is based on activist research in the Transition Towns and Climate Justice Action movements, which have variably been depicted as profoundly political and depoliticised. The paper argues that it is often overlooked that it is on the level of discourse or representation that the diagnosis of post-politics should be made. It is not reality as such which is post-political, but the way reality is portrayed and thereby constructed. On this basis, I argue that post-politics is a real problem for climate movements and that the attempt to overcome it is not only a necessity but also a profound challenge for them.

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