This article approaches the issue of climate change and the response to it in Scotland from the perspective of genres of expectation and normality, focusing in particular on the relationship between genre, the political imagination, and calls for ‘climate realism’. Functioning partly as provocation and partly as a piece of critical theory on the problematic aspects of contemporary genres of expectation in Scotland, it discusses the push for normality as a driving force in the construction of imagined futures in the context of climate change, problematising how this fits with established expectations of the Scottish political imaginary and its futurity. Using the work of the scholar of genre and affect Lauren Berlant and her identification of genre as a means of ‘moving on’, it considers the idea of materially contingent narratives as an exit strategy from the present moment. To illustrate this, it briefly discusses Jenni Fagan’s contemporary climate change novel The Sunlight Pilgrims
as an example of ‘irrealist’ confrontation of climate change and how this relates to the concept of the Anthropocene as an everyday experience. Ultimately, it concludes that contemporary attempts at climate realism require engagement with the irreal material circumstances of climate change and the fundamentally ‘super-wicked’ nature of climate processes in order to escape the constraints of progress, restoration, and normalisation as genre structures in discussion of climate futures.
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