1st Edition

Environmental Pollution and the Media Political Discourses of Risk and Responsibility in Australia, China and Japan

    204 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a theoretically informed empirical investigation of national media reporting and political discourse on environmental issues in Australia, China and Japan. It illuminates the risks, harms and responsibilities associated with climate change through an analysis of pollution, adopting an interdisciplinary approach drawing on both the social sciences and humanities. A particular strength of the work is the detailed analysis of the data using a range of both quantitative and qualitative techniques, enabling the authors to reveal in rich and compelling detail the complex relationship between risk and responsibility in the climate change discourse.

    The case studies of Australia, China and Japan are set in the current literature as well as in the historical context of climate change in these three countries. The analysis of the media discourse on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia demonstrates how the mining of coal for overseas markets has led to devastating harm to the life of the reef. A critical discussion of the Chinese documentary, Under the Dome, shows how this medium has played a crucial role in building awareness of the harm from atmospheric pollution among the citizens, shaping attitudes and promoting action. The first case study of Japan elucidates how cross-border atmospheric pollution from China forges a chain of responsibility for responding to climate change, running from the state to society. The other case study of Japan demonstrates how ‘smart cities’ have emerged as a way to mitigate the risks and harms of climate change. The Conclusion draws together the similarities and differences in how climate change is addressed in the three countries.

    In all, Environmental Pollution and the Media: Political Discourses of Risk and Responsibility in Australia, China and Japan uncovers the dynamics of the triadic relationship among risk, harm and climate change in Australia, China and Japan. By so doing, the book makes an original and timely contribution to understanding comparative media, discourse and political debates on climate change.

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    1 Introduction

    2 Risk, responsibility and pollution in Australia, China and Japan: a regional overview

    3 Transnational discourses of risk and responsibility from Australia: coal, pollution and the Great Barrier Reef

    4 Responsibility and the risks of air pollution in China: media activism and the case of Under the Dome

    5 Mediating risk communication and the shifting locus of responsibility: Japanese adaptation policy in response to cross-border atmospheric pollution


    6 Visions of a super smart society: risk management and responsibility as adaptation

    7 Conclusion



    Glenn D. Hook is Toshiba International Foundation Anniversary Research Professor in the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield, UK. He has published widely in Japanese as well as in English on Japanese and East Asian politics and international relations, especially in relation to security, risk and governance.

    Libby Lester is Professor of Journalism, Media and Communications at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Her research on public debate over land use and environmental risks is widely published internationally.

    Meng Ji is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. She specialises in advanced digital humanities research methodologies, especially the design and the computational analysis and quantitative modelling of multilingual corpora ranging from classical literature and historical linguistics to global environmental media, cross-national health risk assessment and health references and guidelines for non-communicable diseases.

    Kingsley Edney is Lecturer in Politics and International Relations of China in the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds, UK. He is the author of The Globalization of Chinese Propaganda: International Power and Domestic Political Cohesion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

    Chris G. Pope is a PhD student of the School of East Asian Studies, the University of Sheffield, UK, and part of the White Rose East Asian Centre. His thesis, which employs a mixed-methods approach to examine the speeches of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, is funded by the Economics and Social Research Council.

    Luli van der Does-Ishikawa is a research team member of the European Research Council project 'War Crimes and Empire' in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, UK. She specialises in the interdisciplinary quantitative and qualitative study of social and political discourses with a focus on the transient loci of risk and responsibility in multistakeholder media discourse.