Anthropology and Climate Change: From Actions to Transformations, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Anthropology and Climate Change

From Actions to Transformations, 2nd Edition

By Susan A. Crate, Mark Nuttall


450 pages

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The first edition of Anthropology and Climate Change (2009) pioneered the study of climate change through the lens of anthropology, covering the relation between human cultures and the environment from prehistoric times to the present. This second, heavily revised edition brings the material on this rapidly changing field completely up to date, with major scholars from around the world mapping out trajectories of research and issuing specific calls for action. The new edition

  • introduces new “foundational” chapters—laying out what anthropologists know about climate change today, new theoretical and practical perspectives, insights gleaned from sociology, and international efforts to study and curb climate change—making the volume a perfect introductory textbook;

  • presents a series of case studies—both new case studies and old ones updated and viewed with fresh eyes—with the specific purpose of assessing climate trends;

  • provides a close look at how climate change is affecting livelihoods, especially in the context of economic globalization and the migration of youth from rural to urban areas;

  • expands coverage to England, the Amazon, the Marshall Islands, Tanzania, and Ethiopia;

  • re-examines the conclusions and recommendations of the first volume, refining our knowledge of what we do and do not know about climate change and what we can do to adapt.


"The chapters are written mostly by anthropologists for anthropologists, but physical scientists such as myself will find useful information and insights in several of the chapters. The primary audience for the book will be climate change researchers and students in upper- and graduate-level courses in anthropology and the environmental and social sciences. Each of the chapters stands alone, which is useful for class reading assignments… Crate and Nutall's well-referenced volume provides useful information and insight for researchers and students becoming interested in the field."

- Allan Ashworth, Journal of Anthropological Research, review of the first edition

"This effectively organized, crisply presented, and compellingly argued book is essential reading for everyone concerned about the impact of climate change on human communities around the world, and for readers of any background seeking to understand the unique and critical contributions of anthropology to these important questions. The list of contributors, with their highly varied interests and accomplishments, makes clear that anthropologists have been working on issues of environmental change and sustainability for decades, and that their contributions focus on precisely the kinds of questions that have been relatively neglected in the physical sciences of the environment. With its close attention to strategy and tactics,Anthropology and Climate Change will serve as a major resource for anthropologists looking for conceptual and practical tools by which they might refocus their work so as to contribute more effectively to these major debates of our day."

- Susan Greenhalgh, Population and Development Review, review of the first edition

Table of Contents

Introduction: Anthropology and Climate Change 0

Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall


1. Climate Knowledge: Assemblage, Anticipation, Action

Kirsten Hastrup

2. The Concepts of Adaptation, Vulnerability, and Resilience in the Anthropology of Climate Change: Considering the Case of Displacement and Migration

Anthony Oliver-Smith

3. Apocalypse Nicked! Stolen Rhetoric in Early Geoengineering Advocacy

Clare Heyward and Steve Rayner

4. Complex Systems and Multiple Crises of Energy

John Urry

5. Entangled Futures: Anthropology’s Engagement with Global Change Research

Eduardo Brondizio


6. Gone with Cows and Kin? Climate, Globalization, and Youth Alienation in Siberia

Susan A. Crate

7. Climate Change in Leukerbad and Beyond: Re-Visioning our Cultures of Energy and Environment

Sarah Strauss

8. Storm Warnings: An Anthropological Focus on Community Resilience in the Face of Climate Change in Southern Bangladesh

Timothy Finan and Md. Ashiqur Rahman

9. Correlating Local Knowledge with Climatic Data: Porgeran Experiences of Climate Change in Papua New Guinea

Jerry K. Jacka

10. Speaking Again of Climate Change: An Analysis of Climate Change Discourses in Northwestern Alaska

Elizabeth Marino and Peter Schweitzer

11. Too little and Too late: What to Do about Climate Change in the Torres Strait?

Donna Green

12. Shifting Tides: Climate Change, Migration, and Agency in Tuvalu

Heather Lazrus

13. The Politics of Rain: Tanzanian Farmers' Discourse on Climate and Political Disorder

Michael J. Sheridan

14. Cornish Weather and the Phenomenology of Light: On Anthropology and “Seeing”

Tori L. Jennings

15. Making Sense of Climate Change: Global Impacts, Local Responses, and Anthropogenic Dilemmas in the Peruvian Andes

Karsten Paerregaard

16: Climate Change beyond the “Environmental”: the Marshallese Case

Peter Rudiak-Gould

17: “This Is Not Science Fiction”: Amazonian Narratives of Climate Change

David Rojas


18. Fostering Resilience in a Changing Sea-Ice Context: A Grant-Maker’s Perspective

Anne Stevens Henshaw

19: Is a Sustainable Consumer Culture Possible?

Richard Wilk

20. “Climate Skepticism” inside the Beltway and across the Bay

Shirley Fiske

21. When Adaptation Isn’t Enough: Between the “Now and Then” of Community-Led Resettlement

Kristina J. Peterson and Julie K. Maldonado

22. Narwhal Hunters, Seismic Surveys, and the Middle Ice: Monitoring Environmental Change in Greenland’s Melville Bay

Mark Nuttall

23. Insuring the Rain as Climate Adaptation in an Ethiopian Agricultural Community

Nicole D. Peterson and Daniel Osgood

24. Pedagogy and Climate Change

Chris Hebdon, Myles Lennon, Francis M. Ludlow, Amy Zhang, Michael R. Dove

25. Bridging Knowledge and Action on Climate Change: Institutions, Translation, and Anthropological Engagement

Noor Johnson

26. Escaping the Double-Bind: From the Management of Uncertainty toward Integrated Climate Research

Werner Krauss

Epilogue: Encounters, Actions, Transformations

Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall


About the Contributors

About the Authors

Susan A. Crate is an associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Environmental Science & Policy at George Mason University. An environmental and cognitive anthropologist, she has worked with indigenous communities in Siberia since 1988. Her recent research has focused on understanding local perceptions and adaptations of Viliui Sakha communities in the face of unprecedented climate change—a research agenda that has expanded to Canada, Peru, Wales, Kiribati, and the Chesapeake Bay. Crate is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and one monograph, Cows, Kin and Globalization: An Ethnography of Sustainability (AltaMira Press, 2006), and she is co-editor of the Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions (Left Coast Press, 2009). Crate also served on the American Anthropology Association’s Task Force on Climate Change.

Mark Nuttall is Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. He also holds a visiting position as Professor of Climate and Society at Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland and the Greenland Climate Research Centre at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. He has carried out extensive research in Greenland, Alaska, Canada, Finland and Scotland, and is co-PI of the EU-funded project ICE-ARC (Ice, Climate and Economics—the Arctic Region in Change). He is editor of the landmark three-volume Encyclopedia of the Arctic (Routledge, 2005) and author or editor of many other books.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Physical