1st Edition

Climate Change Epistemologies in Southern Africa Social and Cultural Dimensions

Edited By Jörn Ahrens, Ernst Halbmayer Copyright 2023
    224 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the social and cultural dimensions of climate change in Southern Africa, focusing on how knowledge about climate change is conceived and conveyed.

    Despite contributing very little to the global production of emissions, the African continent looks set to be the hardest hit by climate change. Adopting a decolonial perspective, this book argues that knowledge and discourse about climate change has largely disregarded African epistemologies, leading to inequalities in knowledge systems. Only by considering regionally specific forms of conceptualizing, perceiving, and responding to climate change can these global problems be tackled. First exploring African epistemologies of climate change, the book then goes on to the social impacts of climate change, matters of climate justice, and finally institutional change and adaptation.

    Providing important insights into the social and cultural perception and communication of climate change in Africa, this book will be of interest to researchers from across the fields of African studies, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, political science, climate change, and geography.

    Introduction: epistemologies of global warming in the South. The social and cultural dimension of climate change in Southern Africa
    Jörn Ahrens, Ernst Halbmayer

    Part 1: Climate and climate change – justice epistemologies

    1. Drought, disaster and identity in northwestern Namibia in times of global climate change
      Michael Bollig
    2. When rain is a person: rainmaking, relational persons, and post-human ontologies in sub-Saharan Africa
      Michael Sheridan
    3. Environmental attitudes and narratives in two rural South African communities: implications for intervention
      Werner Nell
    4. Conflicting narratives of extreme weather events in Durban, South Africa: politically opportunistic, experiential and climate-justice epistemologies in an extreme weather event
      Patrick Bond, Mary Galvin

      Part 2: Climate change communication

    6. Receptivity to the knowledge of others: building urban climate resilience in southern African cities
      Anna Taylor, Dianne Scott
    7. Print media coverage and the socio-contextual Representation of climate change in Botswana
      Gabriel Faimau, Esther Nkhukhu-Orlando, Nelson Sello
    8. Part 3: Just Transition and international co-operation

    9. Climate change equity and extreme vulnerability
      Steve Vanderheiden
    10. Adaptation to climate change in Southern Africa: challenges for sustainable development, and the role of International co-operation
      Matthias Rompel


    Jörn Ahrens is Professor of Cultural Sociology at Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), Germany, and Extraordinary Professor of Social Anthropology at North-West University (NWU), South Africa.

    Ernst Halbmayer is Professor for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Marburg, Germany, where he is also Director of the Marburg Ethnographic Collection.