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Ecological Citizens with a Movie Camera: Communitarian and Agonistic Environmental Documentaries

Independent Scholar, 56237 Alsbach, Germany
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110307
Received: 10 October 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 4 November 2019 / Published: 8 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Environmental Citizenship for Grassroots Politics )
Environmental documentaries attained wider public and academic attention, especially in the aftermath of Al Gore’s prominent documentary on climate change An Inconvenient Truth. Making environmental documentaries is a cinematic form of political advocacy. However, there is a lack of research on the broad range of such films from Germany. While earlier works tended to an accusatory style, newer environmental documentary seems to be more constructive and aiming at spreading information about feasible alternatives. This article pursues three objectives: first, to gain a deeper understanding of the shift from accusatory to constructive documentaries; second, to connect film studies to the political change-making role and therefore to theories of ecological citizenship; and third, to explore the question of what citizenship with a movie camera means. The accusatory and constructive style are associated with agonistic and communitarian ecological citizenship. A sample of two films from the German context, namely Leben ausser Kontrolle produced by Bertram Verhaag in 2004 and Voices of Transition produced by Nils Aguilar in 2012, is analyzed comparatively. The interpretive research method combines methods of studying audio-visual rhetoric with the framing approach from social movement studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecological citizenship; environmental documentary; video activism; media; environmental movement; social movements ecological citizenship; environmental documentary; video activism; media; environmental movement; social movements
MDPI and ACS Style

Hedemann, K. Ecological Citizens with a Movie Camera: Communitarian and Agonistic Environmental Documentaries. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 307.

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