Special Issue "Climate Justice: Social Actors, Contested Politics, and Culture Change"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Christopher Todd Beer

Lake Forest College
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global warming and climate change are increasingly altering, not only the ecosystems of the world, but also the social, political, and cultural systems. Industrialized societies’ reliance on fossil fuels is generating dire consequences, and efforts are underway—although contested and more slowly than science recommends—to shift to alternative energy sources, different economic and social structures, and new cultural norms. How humans should collectively address global warming and what our society, politics, and culture will look like in the future are sites of conflict and power. In the context of social and political inequalities at the domestic and global level, how is the issue of justice infused into these debates? This Special Issue seeks to explore climate justice across and at the intersection of social science disciplines. We seek papers from the various social sciences and methodological practices that examine elements of broad questions, such as:

  • Within social, political, and cultural institutions, which actors, organizations, and/or movements are promoting and which are resisting efforts to incorporate climate justice into social relations, state or global policy, and cultural norms? Under what conditions do they succeed and what does “success” look like? When do they fail and why?
  • At the domestic and/or global level, how are the principles of climate justice interacting with structures of gender, race, class, capitalism, and globalization?
  • Is there contestation over the definition and meaning of climate justice?
  • What cases illustrate the need for or implementation of climate justice?

Dr. Christopher Todd Beer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Climate justice
  • climate change
  • social movements
  • climate policy
  • culture

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Climate Justice Movement Building: Values and Cultures of Creation in Santa Barbara, California
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030079
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
This article analyzes how young people in the climate justice movement cultivate a prefigurative culture centered on justice as a response to the threat of climate change. Employing grounded theory and drawing on data from in-depth interviews with 29 youth activists and participant [...] Read more.
This article analyzes how young people in the climate justice movement cultivate a prefigurative culture centered on justice as a response to the threat of climate change. Employing grounded theory and drawing on data from in-depth interviews with 29 youth activists and participant observation in Santa Barbara County, California, the birthplace of both the environmental movement and offshore oil drilling, I argue that four key values—relationships, accessibility, intersectionality, and community—enable movement building, a stated goal of the climate justice movement. These values emerge from interviewees’ words and practices. Drawing on John Foran’s (2014) notion of political cultures of creation, I conceptualize these values and the practices that embody them as constituting a “climate justice culture of creation” that shapes and is shaped by ideas, experiences, social relations, and the reality of a changing atmosphere. These values, and movement building, are about creating alternative futures—cultures that are not dependent on inequality and fossil fuels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Normative Shifts in the Global Conception of Climate Change: The Growth of Climate Justice
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010024
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
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Abstract
While climate change has been framed as an environmental issue from the very beginning of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, over the years the concept has expanded to further emphasize it as a fundamental issue of human rights and [...] Read more.
While climate change has been framed as an environmental issue from the very beginning of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, over the years the concept has expanded to further emphasize it as a fundamental issue of human rights and global justice. This paper examines the evolution of the conception of climate change since 2009, arguing that the issue framing utilized by UNFCCC member states has increasingly trended toward some aspects of the climate justice frame, including disparities in vulnerability to climate change (loss and damage), human rights impacts, and social inequalities. This shift also extends to the framing adopted by civil society organizations in the form of the Climate Action Network (CAN International), in which a larger focus on issues of climate justice can be seen in recent years. These trends are then reviewed alongside the objectives, mechanisms, and language of the ratified text of the Paris Agreement in order to evaluate the status of the growing international norm of climate justice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Climate Politics and Race in the Pacific Northwest
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(10), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7100192
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 23 September 2018 / Accepted: 5 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
The collective politics of climate justice makes the important claim that lowering emissions is not enough; society must also undertake radical transformation to address both the climate and inequality crises. Owing to its roots in the environmental justice movement, addressing systemic racism is [...] Read more.
The collective politics of climate justice makes the important claim that lowering emissions is not enough; society must also undertake radical transformation to address both the climate and inequality crises. Owing to its roots in the environmental justice movement, addressing systemic racism is central to climate justice praxis in the United States, which is a necessary intervention in typically technocratic climate politics. What emerges from US climate justice is a moral appeal to ‘relationship’ as politics, the procedural demand that communities of color (the ‘frontline’) lead the movement, and a distributive claim on carbon pricing revenue. However, this praxis precludes a critique of racial capitalism, the process that relies on structural racism to enhance accumulation, alienating, exploiting, and immiserating black, brown, and white, while carrying out ecocide. The lack of an analysis of how class and race produce the crises climate justice confronts prevents the movement from demanding that global north fossil fuel abolition occur in tandem with the reassertion of the public over the private and de-growth. Drawing on research conducted primarily in Oregon and Washington, I argue that race works to both create and limit the transformative possibilities of climate politics. Full article
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