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A study of the perceptions of climate change among honours students at two South African universities

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dc.contributor.advisor Ndlovu, Morgan Benoit, Nzokizwa 2016-03-17T09:40:02Z 2016-03-17T09:40:02Z 2015
dc.identifier.citation Benoit, Nzokizwa (2015) A study of the perceptions of climate change among honours students at two South African universities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description Text in English en
dc.description.abstract Climate change has become part of daily conversations for scholars and activists. Everyone feels entitled to an opinion on either the causes or the prescriptions of mitigation measures. Very few question the ontological existence of climate change or wonder whether their perceptions are pre-empted by over-arching metanarratives or discourses articulated elsewhere. The impact of media and other sources of information on people’s perceptions of climate change are often taken for granted. By using discourse theory, this study aims to uncover taken-for-granted metanarratives within environmentally oriented university Honours student’s perceptions of climate change. These students are majoring in the key areas of Environmental Management studies. It aims at assessing whether their perceptions are, consciously or inadvertently, mis (aligned) to any climate change discourses. In discourse theory, Laclau and Mouffe (1985) argued that within a particular knowledge domain, there are several meaning-conferring articulations (discourses) in a struggle of fixing meaning for particular social events and activities. As such, each discourse aims at negating alternative meanings from alternative discourses and naturalising its own interpretations. Within a particular discourse, actors (individuals or groups) are interpellated i.e. defined within specific confines of action and articulations. This study uses this discourse theory to test these hypotheses. As such, the study came up with three conclusions. First, there is a metanarrative of climate change realism, in which the ontological reality of climate change is taken as a given, with no attempt at individual reflection on its ontology. Secondly, the respondents held a mediated concept of climate change, in which their views largely mirror the conceptualisations of the media and other information sources. Lastly, there is an overarching climate-change aversion metanarrative, in which climate change is regarded as negative, without any distinction between its causes and effects. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xi, 103 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Perceptions en
dc.subject Climate change en
dc.subject Views en
dc.subject Attitudes en
dc.subject.ddc 363.738740968
dc.subject.lcsh Climatic changes -- Effect of human beings on -- South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh Environmental sociology -- South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh Climatic changes -- Social aspects -- South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh College students -- South Africa -- Public opinion
dc.title A study of the perceptions of climate change among honours students at two South African universities en
dc.type Dissertation en
dc.description.department Development Studies en M.A. (Development Studies)

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